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Normandy: a century-old American veteran and his fiancée get married

  • June 10, 2024
  • 9 Min
  • 6
normandy:-a-century-old-american-veteran-and-his-fiancee-get-married

They said to each other « oui »: American veteran Harold Terens, 100, married his 96-year-old fiancée, Jeanne Swerlin, on Saturday morning at the town hall of Carentan-les-Marais, near the beaches where the Landing took place on June 6, 1944.

“It’s the best moment of my whole life, I’m 100 years old and my fiancée is 96, and getting married here in Carentan is incredible: it’s my second favorite place in the world (…) I feel young again”Harold Terens told AFP at the end of the ceremony, after greeting the crowd on the balcony.

“My religion is love” et “love” a “triumphed” of the war, he rejoiced.

Normandy: a century-old American veteran and his fiancée said

Harold Terens (L), 100-year-old American World War II veteran, and his fiancée Jeanne Swerlin, 96, during their wedding celebrated on June 8, 2024 in Carentan-les-Marais, Normandy / LOIC VENANCE / AFP

In the wedding hall of the town hall, with its high ceiling and beautiful wooden beams, when the mayor, Jean-Pierre Lhonneur, asks Jeanne Swerlin, in English, if she wishes to take Harold Terens as her husband, the answer comes out in French : « Oui! », she exclaims. The room responds with applause.

Then Harold Terens also answers in the affirmative. « I now pronounce you man and wife » (I declare you husband and wife), proclaims the mayor.

The bride and groom, who are almost 200 years old between them, kiss as passionately as young lovebirds, to the cheers of the assembly, while a singer, Miss Liberty, sings a « Ave Maria ».

Before entering the town hall, Jeanne Swerlin, in a satin pink dress, told AFP: “I waited 96 years to find the right person and I have a marriage like only kings and queens have. »

Normandy: a century-old American veteran and his fiancée said

Harold Terens (L), 100-year-old American World War II veteran, and his fiancée Jeanne Swerlin, 96, before their wedding at the town hall of Carentan-les-Marais, Normandy, June 8, 2024 in / LOIC VENANCE / AFP

The bride and groom entered the town hall separately, accompanied by Miss Liberty, interpreting for the groom. ” I have two loves “a song by Joséphine Baker.

Amid applause, Harold Terens, in a light blue suit, was the first to enter the wedding hall, accompanied by his loved ones.

Then Jeanne Swerlin followed on « I will always love you » by Dolly Parton covered by Whitney Houston, a song sung a cappella.

The town hall of Carentan-les-Marais, in the north-west of France, has worked hard to welcome this “American hero”by decorating the trees and installing a small parachute, in reference to the American GIs parachuted on June 6, 1944 in Normandy.

Champagne and small committee

After the ceremony, champagne, offered by the town hall, was served to the couple and their guests.

“Carentan was at the heart of the American landing sector, exactly where the troops landed”recalled the mayor of this town located 75 km northwest of Caen.

Normandy: a century-old American veteran and his fiancée said

100-year-old American World War II veteran Harold Terens (L) and his 96-year-old fiancée Jeanne Swerlin kiss after their wedding at the town hall of Carentan-les-Marais, Normandy, on 8 June 2024 at / LOIC VENANCE / AFP

After the ceremony, the ” newly weds “ had lunch in a small group, surrounded by their loved ones. A glass of champagne in hand, the brand new “Madame Terence” performed a few dance steps to a song by Marilyn Monroe, with her daughter.

Then, with a big smile on their lips, the lovers greeted the small crowd gathered in front of the town hall.

The centenarian, who lives with his partner in Boca Raton, Florida (United States), had planned to then join a parade of veterans, in the center of Carentan-les-Marais.

Normandy: a century-old American veteran and his fiancée said

100-year-old American World War II veteran Harold Terens (D) and his 96-year-old fiancée Jeanne Swerlin during their wedding celebrations at the town hall of Carentan-les-Marais, Normandy, on July 8 June 2024 at / LOIC VENANCE / AFP

He finally gave up because he had to take the road to “dinner with (President Emmanuel) Macron and US President Biden” in Paris, his son Bill announced to AFP. “We want him to preserve his strength, he was at the (commemoration, editor’s note) ceremonies, it’s a tiring week. »

“Today, Harold chose our country at the age of 100 to marry Jeanne. They are among us today. In addition to the celebration of veterans, it is a marriage that we hope will be a happy one. So congratulations to the newlyweds”greeted Emmanuel Macron during the dinner at the Elysée in honor of American President Joe Biden, to the applause of the standing room.

Decorated in 2019 with the French Legion of Honor, Harold Terens was honored again Thursday alongside many other veterans during the D-Day ceremonies.

After World War II, he married Thelma, with whom he had three children. The death of his first wife leaves him devastated. Then he met three years later Jeanne Swerlin, also a widow, and it was love at first sight.