Carentan, France – June 8, 2024: In an emotional and historic ceremony, Second World War veteran Harold Terens, aged 100, and his beloved Jeanne Swerlin, aged 96, tied the knot in a symbolic wedding at the elegant town hall of Carentan, Normandy, on Saturday.

Their combined age, nearly 200 years, made their nuptials a celebration of enduring love and resilience, set against the poignant backdrop of the D-Day beaches.

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Terens, reflecting on his life’s milestones, declared the day as “the best day of my life.” The bride-to-be, vibrant and spirited, captured the essence of timeless romance, remarking, “It’s not just for young people, love, you know? We get butterflies. And we get a little action, also.”

The town hall of Carentan, an important D-Day objective that witnessed intense fighting after the Allied landings on June 6, 1944, served as the perfect venue for this memorable occasion.

The ceremony coincided with the 80th anniversary of D-Day, transforming the town into a festive hub adorned with flags and bunting, where veterans were celebrated like rockstars.

Well-wishers, some donning Second World War-period attire, gathered behind barriers outside the town hall an hour before the ceremony, eagerly awaiting the couple’s arrival.

The atmosphere was lively, with the strains of Glenn Miller and other period tunes filling the air and a pipe-and-drum band serenading the couple.

In front of a jubilant crowd and Carentan’s mayor, Terens and Swerlin exchanged vows and rings. “With this ring, I thee wed,” Terens proclaimed, to which Swerlin responded with a delighted, “Really?” The couple then toasted the crowd from an open window with champagne flutes in hand.

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“To everybody’s good health. And to peace in the world and the preservation of democracy all over the world and the end of the war in Ukraine and Gaza,” Terens said, prompting cheers from the onlookers.

Swerlin, in a vibrant pink flowing dress, and Terens, looking dapper in a light-blue suit with a matching pink kerchief, radiated joy.

The couple was later invited to a state dinner at the Elysée Palace with Presidents Emmanuel Macron and Joe Biden, where Macron congratulated them, eliciting cheers and a standing ovation from the guests. “Carentan was happy to host your wedding, and us, your wedding dinner,” Macron stated, highlighting the deep ties between French and American allies.

Although the wedding was symbolic and not legally binding—Mayor Jean-Pierre L’Honneur’s office cited regulations regarding non-resident foreigners—the couple’s love and commitment were clear. They plan to formalize their vows in Florida.

Among the spectators was 73-year-old Jane Ollier, dressed in a 1940s dress and red beret. “It’s so touching to get married at that age,” she said. “If it can bring them happiness in the last years of their lives, that’s fantastic.”

Terens’ first visit to France was as a 20-year-old US Army Air Forces corporal shortly after D-Day. He played a crucial role in repairing planes and transporting prisoners during the war. His return to Normandy for his wedding was a testament to the enduring connections formed during that pivotal time in history.

Swerlin praised her new husband’s charm, exclaiming, “He’s the greatest kisser ever, you know?” before they shared a passionate kiss for the cameras. Terens humorously ended the moment, quipping, “All right! That’s it for now!” to which Swerlin replied with a smile, “You mean there’s more later?”

Their story, a beautiful blend of history and romance, serves as a poignant reminder that love, indeed, is eternal.

 

This article was created using automation technology and was thoroughly edited and fact-checked by one of our editorial staff members

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