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Paris

Paris OSS Ceremony

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Published on Feb 19, 2020

A floral tribute on behalf of the OSS--Office of Strategic Services--was laid at the tomb of the unknown soldier under the Arc de Triomphe in an elaborate ceremony on Friday, Feb 14th, 2020 (Valentine's Day).

Present to lay flowers was a 94-year-old veteran of the OSS, Dr. Stephen Weiss, who traveled via EuroStar alone from his home in London to Paris to take part in the ceremonies. Also present was Béatrice Boussens, whose grandfather was also a member of the OSS. Colonel Travis Moliere, representing U.S. Special Operations in France took part too, along with two young French lycee students who had won a prize for citizenship.

Dr Weiss landed on D-Day in Southern France. Listed as Missing In Action' in France, he served with the French Resistance and an OSS Operational Group behind enemy lines. For these exploits, he was awarded the French Resistance Medal, two Croix de Guerre, and the American Bronze Star. President Jacques Chirac presented him with the Legion d’ Honneur in 1999. In June 2007 he was made an Officier de la Leigon d’ Honneur and later was promoted to Commandeur. (The Order is the highest decoration in France.)

As American flag-bearer from the Tarn, where an OSS commando team code-named PAT had an important and successful mission, I was invited to participate in these Paris ceremonies. Working with The OSS Society in the United States, we had invited Dr. Weiss and Ms. Boussens to represent the men who did so much to defeat the Nazi occupation forces and to help liberate France. Two members of Operational Group PAT were killed in action during their mission: Bernard Gallant and Robert Spaur.

I arrived in Paris in the morning of Feb 13th and planned to meet Dr. Weiss that evening at the Gare du Nord.

A friend in the Washington volunteers to meet the "Honor Flights" --bringing World War 2 veterans to D.C. to visit the WW2 memorial. The videos of those arrivals are touching.

It would be nice, I thought, to surprise Dr. Weiss with a welcoming committee of Americans in Paris. I posted an invitation to the event on various relevant Facebook pages, asking for volunteers. They came with flowers, flags and appreciation--some in memory of their own late fathers or grandfathers who had fought in that war.

Most of those present didn't know each but it was like a flash mob of gratitude and welcome. Dr. Weiss was completely surprised. He told me later, "I thought, who is this American that these people are waiting for??'"

This slideshow documents that welcome and the ceremony the following day. It includes vintage photos of Dr. Weiss as a younger man from his own memoir.

  • Category

  • Song

  • Artist

    • The Andrews Sisters
  • Album

    • History Records: American Edition 47 - The Andrews Sisters, Vol.
  • Licensed to YouTube by

    • UMG (on behalf of History-Records)

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