World War II veteran reunites with first love in France 75 years after meeting
K.T. Robbins, 97, of Mississippi, was visiting Normandy for the 75th anniversary celebrations for D-Day, and he had one wish — to reunite with the girl he’d left in France, but never forgotten.
In 1944, Robbins met Jeannine Ganaye in Briey, a town in northeastern France.
Back then, Robbins worked as a baker for his fellow soldiers and knew many people in the community.
Ganaye was 18 at the time, and she was his first love.
“She’s just a sweet girl,” he told France 2 TV. “I think she loved me.”
When Robbins left to fight in the war, he said he had hoped to come back for her, but alas, that did not happen. He eventually returned to the U.S. and married. Ganaye also married. Both of them lived happy lives.
Robbins, widowed, had feared that Ganaye was no longer alive, but he soon got a surprise as he learned that the 92-year-old, also widowed, was living in a retirement home in France.
The two were reunited for the first time in 75 years on June 8.
“I always loved you. I always loved you. You never got out of my heart,” Robbins told her in English.
He showed Ganaye a photo that he’d kept of her all these years.
In French, she said that she’d always thought of him.
“When he left in the truck, I cried. I was very sad. I hoped he would come back after the war,” she said in French.
As Robbins prepared to depart the nursing home, he and Ganaye exchanged several kisses and embraces before he began to cry.
“Bon voyage,” she told him.
“I love you,” he replied.
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