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Veteran George Klein’s program in Normandy

George G. Klein, American veteran of the 2nd Ranger Battalion who climbed Pointe du Hoc at the dawn of June 6, 1944, will participate in the 73rd anniversary celebrations of the Normandy landings.
Photo: Marc Laurenceau © D-Day Overlord

May 24, 2017: Veteran George Klein’s Commemorations Program in Normandy
Author: Marc Laurenceau

In September 2016, the D-Day Overlord association initiated a fundraising program to organize the return to France for the commemorations of a veteran of the Normandy landing, George G. Klein. This American from Chicago born in 1921 belonged to the 2nd Ranger Battalion: on June 6, 1944 at dawn, he climbed with his brothers-in-arms the famous cliffs of Pointe du Hoc, under heavy fire. He is now one of the last witnesses still alive of this stunning assault immortalized by the The Longest Day movie.
Almost 73 years after the Normandy landing, popular enthusiasm was exceptional: in just a few weeks, the 4,000 euros needed to finance his return to France (as well as the travel of a medical assistant who will accompany him during all the duration of his stay) were gathered by the association, thanks to the generosity of 133 donors.

Veteran George Klein is particularly pleased to have the opportunity to participate in the D-Day commemorations two years after receiving the French Legion of Honor medal on the D-Day beaches. He expressed his gratitude to all the people who participated in the participatory financing and to the association that organizes his trip and his stay in Normandy. George will stay at a place located only three kilometers from Pointe du Hoc, with all his family who also accompanies him in what he described as the “last great journey of [his] life”. The veteran wrote to his future guests:

“There are no words that can express my gratitude for your kindness and caring and the sharing of your home. Perhaps the hug I am saving for when I see you will give you some idea of the depth of my feelings.”

George Klein, honorary member of the association D-Day Overlord, is expected as a real movie star in Normandy. Since the launch of the fundraising campaign, dozens of people send e-mails to the association every week to find out about the program of his visit during the commemorations (available below). In addition to participating in ceremonies in Calvados and the Manche departments, including the international ceremony held on June 6th in Utah Beach, the Ranger will be the guest of honor for the first edition of the International WW2 Film Festival organized by the WW2 Foundation.

Veteran George Klein visiting for the first time since World War II the remains of Pointe du Hoc in June 2015.
Photo: Marc Laurenceau © D-Day Overlord

Here is the forecast detail of his stay in Normandy:

  • FRIDAY JUNE 2nd 2017

Location: Pointe du Hoc (Calvados)
10:30 am: Ceremony at the Pointe du Hoc battery site, near the bronze plaques and the information center, in honor of George G. Klein. This commemoration is organized to bring together members of the association D-Day Overlord and donors who have participated in the crowfunding program: access is reserved for members of the association, donors and residents of Cricqueville-en-Bessin.

Location: Cricqueville-en-Bessin (Calvados)
11:15 am: Ceremony at the Town Hall in honor of veteran George G. Klein, with the planting of a tree and the inauguration of a commemorative plaque in the presence of the veteran.

Location: Utah Beach – Sainte-Marie-du-Mont (Manche)
7:30 pm: Opening Ceremony of the International World War II Film Festival: George G. Klein is the guest of honor of the organizers (WW2 Foundation).

  • MONDAY JUNE 5th, 2017

Location: Colleville-sur-Mer (Calvados)
10:00 am: Ceremony at the American Military Cemetery.

Location: Sainte-Honorine-des-Pertes (Calvados)
5:30 pm: Lecture by George Klein on his experience during the landing at Pointe du Hoc and then the Second World War, in the sociocultural room (opposite number 15, Omaha Beach road). Free. 180 seats available.

  • TUEDAY JUNE 6th, 2017

Location: Utah Beach – Sainte-Marie-du-Mont (Manche)
10:00 am: Ceremony at the Monument Leadership (statue of Major Winters). At the invitation of the Utah Beach Museum and the D-Day Overlord Association.
4:30 pm: International D-Day and Battle of Normandy ceremony. At the invitation of the Landing Committee.

Veteran George Klein has become the honorary member of the D-Day Overlord association, here with its French president, Marc Laurenceau
Photo: © Association D-Day Overlord

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