K.T. Robbins, 98, had one wish as he was setting foot again in France, 75 years after the D-Day landings in Normandy. The American veteran hoped to go back to the city of Briey (Meurthe-et-Moselle), in eastern France, where he met and fell in love with a French woman towards the end of World War II.
Her name is Jeanine. I remember her well, I would like to go back there and find her family. I don't think I'll see her unfortunately. She's probably gone.K.T. Robbins
Yet his French love is still alive. Jeanine Pierson, whose birth name is Ganaye, is now 92 years old. She lives in a retirement home, in the city of Montigny-lès-Metz (Moselle). France 2 reporters were able to locate her, and bring Robbins to the region where they first met.
In 1944, the young soldier – 24 at the time – and the French woman spent two months together in Briey, where U.S. troops had set camp. A love story that was cut short abruptly, when Robbins left the town to join the eastern front. "I told her: 'after, maybe I'll come back and take you some time', the veteran recalls. But it didn't happen."
"I always wondered : 'will he come back?'"
The lovers, separated for almost 75 years, meet again in Pierson's retirement home in Montigny-lès-Metz. Both hug each other, deeply moved by their reunion. "You never got out of my heart", Robbins says. The veteran then shows his first love a photo of her, that he kept with him during all these years. "I always thought about him too, Pierson replies. I was wondering where he was. I always wondered: 'will he come back?"
When he left in the truck, I cried of course. I was very sad. I hoped that after the war, he would not go back to the U.S.Jeanine Pierson
to France 2
Jeanine Pierson and K.T. Robbins spend several hours together, talking about the war and their shortened love story. After the soldier's departure, both got married and raised several children. They are now widowed. Pierson has one question to ask Robbins. "Why did he wait so long? I would have loved for him to come sooner", she says. "Well, when you get married, you just don't do it, that's all", the D-Day veteran regrets.
K.T. Robbins leaves Montigny-lès-Metz in tears, after this moving reunion. The American and his French love promise to meet again, one way or the other. "Jeanine, I love you darling", the veteran continues to say, 75 years later.