Seventieth Anniversary Commemoration
ceremony was held in the presence of Colonel Christopher Kuester, Commander,
424th Squadron of the airbase, and of Mrs. Cis Spook, in charge of Public
Affairs at SHAPE.
this time of day, 70 years ago, Lieutenant Floyd Addy gave up his life to
prevent the community of Wodecq from being hit by his falling plane. The day was
Wednesday June 14 and the time was 09:17. At that time the children were in
church, preparing for their Communion which was to take place on Pentecost
hours later, his severely mangled body was taken away by the Germans and buried
temporarily at Chièvres airbase. At the end of the war his remains were
returned to the American Authorites who arranged for a definitive grave at the
cemetery of Margraten, Netherlands, close to the Belgian border and a few
kilometres from the city of Visé.
up his life”. The expression is apt. To give thanks for this brave – or
should I say noble – gesture, we will join in a moment of silence later on.
many Belgian and French cities, towns and villages suffered horror when crew
members bailed out of their overflying airplanes as they were ready to crash.
Several television channels showed retrospectives of the Normandy beach landing
on the 70th anniversary . The pictures are distressing and shocking.
we measure how lucky our village of Wodecq has been to stand on the path of a
nice and generous fellow of 24 who, far from his home in America where he’d
left his young and pregnant wife, came here to offer up his life so that we
could gain our liberty?
example of courage and self-sacrifice is one our younger generation should
heroic behavior of this airpilot would have been overlooked, as happened in many
other places, if one member of his crew, Sergeant William Cupp, hadn’t
described it in a book that was published in the late 1980s and translated by
Mrs Yvette Van Quickelberghe who is here today: A Wartime Journey translated as
De la Picardie aux camps nazis. The book relates the odyssey of the plane, its
crash and the death of its pilot, followed by the wanderings in Belgium, France
and Germany of the different crew members, who all managed to return to the USA
once the war was over.