commemorates D-Day in French village he calls home
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[June 09, 2014]
By Lesley Wroughton
ST BRIAC-SUR-MER France (Reuters) - U.S.
Secretary of State John Kerry commemorated the 70th anniversary of D-Day
at his mother's family estate in the French resort of Saint
Briac-sur-Mer on Saturday, paying tribute to the American soldiers who
died during the liberation of the town in 1944.
Kerry laid a wreath at a small monument overlooking the village
harbor dedicated to three U.S. soldiers who were killed during the
battle to liberate the village.
Later in a speech at the town hall, Kerry credited the courage and
kindness of the people of Saint Briac, on the north coast of
Brittany, for saving his family's heirlooms from the Nazis during
the occupation. The Nazis eventually turned the estate into their
He first visited the family home, Les Essarts, two years after the
war ended, when he was four, returning each summer for holidays.
"Almost nothing was left, just a stone staircase to the sky and an
old brick chimney," he recalled.
Standing on the balcony of the town hall, Kerry was flanked by
American photographer Tony Vaccarro, 93, known for his photograph
"Kiss of Liberation", which depicts an American soldier kneeling
down to kiss a young French girl during the liberation of Saint
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The town's mayor dedicated the town hall to Vaccaro, who appeared
surprised by the news. While Vaccaro took about 10,000 images during
the war, he called the "Kiss of Liberation" his most meaningful
image of war.
Vaccaro said he had lost his mother at age 3 and his father at 5,
and that the villagers had taken him to their hearts.
(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Kevin Liffey)
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