On July 27, 1944, Soldiers of the 90th Infantry Division, known as the ‘Tough Hombres’, rolled into the town of Periers, France just 35 kilometers from where they landed seven weeks earlier to be greeted by the remaining citizens as liberators, and the townspeople have never forgotten them.
On July 27, 2019, Brig. Gen. Michael T. Harvey, commanding general of the 7th Mission Support Command, and a detachment of Soldiers made the trip to Periers to support the event with a color guard and guest speaker and received an equal greeting by the locals as they participated alongside them in the 75th anniversary of the town’s liberation.
“I really feel it's an honor, I can have as many reenactors as I want to, but here the people from Periers want to have real Soldiers so they are able to tell them how thankful they are for liberating the city of Periers and France and bringing us freedom again after World War II,” said Christian Lavaufre, Chairman of the Normandy 44-90th Infantry Division Association.
The celebration was started by his father Henri Lavaufre, who was just a boy when the Americans came through his city. Over the last 75 years he made it his mission to thank the Soldiers of the 90th until his death last February. Now his son Christian has taken the mantle and continues his father’s mission.
“It takes a special kind of person to take on this kind of life long endeavor,” said Harvey.
Harvey spoke to the crowd during the celebration to honor of the Soldiers of the 90th Inf. Div., which was a unit in the United States Army Organized Reserve Forces out of Texas prior to WWII.
“Now 75 years later the unit still stands strong with American men and women manning the helm of the 90th Sustainment Brigade in the United States Army Reserve ready to defend this great idea called freedom or this experiment we call democracy,” he said.
“Our Nations have always stood by one another in times of hardship no matter the cost on behalf of the Tough Hombres Division and the men and women serving in Europe continuing to strength our bond today,” Harvey added. “Thank you for your friendship, your remembrance of the fallen and your steadfast partnership in the pursuit of liberty, Viva La France, Viva La Liberty.”