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Residents from France place flowers on Bedford Boys' graves

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By Tom Wilmoth

    Frederic Bibia of France decided to honor Bedford’s fallen soldiers from D-Day on the 70th anniversary of the invasion of Normandy by Allied troops.

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    On June 6, 2014, Bibia and several of his friends commemorated the Normandy landings at the  cemetery of Colleville Sur Mer on Omaha Beach, paying tribute to the Bedford Boys who fell on those beaches on June 6, 1944.
    The friends took pictures at the graves of as many of the fallen as they could find, and placed flowers at those graves.
    They sent the pictures to the Bulletin so that “the population of Bedford can see them, and see that we do not forget the sacrifice of children in your city.”
    Bibia, who lives in the south of France, noted that “it was a very intense moment for us and also for American tourists who were very proud of our approach.”
    “My passion for the landing of Normandy is very strong and every year I go in Normandy for official commemorations,” he said.
    In the past he has honored the graves of some dead paratroopers of the 101st airborne division. “This year, after some research on the net I chose men of Bedford who fell on Omaha Beach,” he said. “Their story moved me and I wanted to honor them.”
    Bibia asked several of his friends to join him in this project and several participated.
    He said the experience touched him and by sharing the photos he wanted people in Bedford to see that the people of France thought of them on the 70th anniversary of D-Day. He said his greatest memory of the day is meeting some American tourists at the cemetery as they were putting the flowers on the graves. Those Americans “thanked us for our action,” he said.