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The following is the text of a letter sent to Ed Black from the Department of Veteran Affairs.
 

 March 26th, 2004

Mr. Edward Black
8005 Twin Harbor Dr.
Mt. Gilead, NC 27306

Dear Mr. Black:

As we told you in our recent telephone conversation, this letter will verify in writing, everything we discussed.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has been contacted by the French government and asked to assist them in identifying United States military veterans who served during World War II and participated in the liberation of France. The Government of France is anxious to recognize the valor and sacrifice of US servicemen and women who served in France during the war.

The French are planning several ceremonies on the occasion of the 60th Anniversary of D-Day, June 6,2004. They plan to present their highest and most prestigious military decoration, the legion of Honor, to 100 US veterans who helped liberate their country. These 100 veterans are intended to represent all the young Americans who fought in France during the war.

We called to verify your military service and to inquire about your interest and availability to make the trip to France to receive this award, and any physical limitations which might preclude you from traveling. Based on your answers to our questions, your name has been placed on the list of awardees which will be submitted to the French Government.

If you have not done so already, please send a copy of your discharge papers from the military to:

COL (Ret) Robert F. Elliott
1111 Army-Navy Drive, Apt. 1429
Arlington, VA 22202
(Phone: 202-273-9559)

The trip to France will take place June 3 - 7, 2004. As we told you, the French Government will provide transportation to France, plus accommodations for the 100 award recipients and for one escort person for each veteran. If you have not given us the name, address and phone number for your escort, please call Mr. Elliott with that information.

This is the proposed itinerary for the trip. All veterans and escorts will depart from Dulles International Airport on a chartered Air France aircraft in the late evening June 3. The French Ambassador will also be a passenger. The plane will arrive at the Charles de Galle Airport in Paris the next morning. There will be buses at the airport to take the veterans and their escorts to a hotel in Paris which will be their residence for three days.

You will have the rest of the day on June 4, and the daytime hours on June 5, to acclimate to the time change. On the evening of June 5, General Douin, former Chief of Staff, French Department of Defense, will present the Legion of Honor medals at a special ceremony in Paris. The next day, a special train will take the veterans to Normandy to participate in various patriotic ceremonies. The exact schedule of events is still to be determined.

Most of the veterans and escorts will return on an Air France chartered flight at about noon on June 7. Any veteran who wishes to remain in France for additional days may do so at his/her own expense. Air France will provide transportation for the veteran and his or her escort to an Air France gateway on the return trip.

You and your escort will need a valid passport to make this trip. If you don't have one, or if your passport has expired, we have enclosed the forms you need to obtain one.

Congratulations on your selection. As this is an initiative of the Government of France, they will be your hosts, and they will be contacting you in the near future with further instructions. If you have any questions before then, please feel free to contact Robert Elliott at (202) 273-9559.

Sincerely,

Dennis Duffy
Acting Assistant Secretary
for Policy, Planning, and Preparedness 

            
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