For the idea : Frank Towers, 30th US Infantry Division, WWII.
For the achievement : Claude Lavieille, reporter, living in St-Jean-de-Daye until he died on October 4, 2005 at 73.
Frank Towers, with two veterans, comes in Normandy so as to prepare a trip for 30th US Infantry Division veterans upon the 40th anniversary of D-Day which is due the next year.
He goes to the Town Hall in St-Jean-de-Daye whichis the first town liberated by the 30th US Infantry Division. The mayor then calls Marie-Thérèse Lavieille in as an interpreter during this interview.
That evening, the Lavieilles invited the the Americans at their place to talk about their trip.
The friendship between the Lavieille and Towers families was born. It would only grow along the years.
The Americans travel to Normandy. It's a success : seven buses, more than 300 persons, some veterans and their families are welcomed in St-Jean-de-Daye.
This would be reproduced in 1989 and 1994, leading to strong and warm bonds between the veterans and St-Jean-de-Daye inhabitants.
Then, no more package tours would be organized due to the veterans age, however, Frank Towers still comes, at least every two years. He wants to visit his comrades' graves in Colleville and St James. Every time, he stays at the Lavieilles with those who accompany him - either brothers in arms or familiy members – and the bonds tighten.
The Lavieilles spend a few days at the Towers, in Florida. When the time to leave comes, Frank said : «I'm getting old now and soon I will no longer be able to visit the graves of my brothers in arms resting in Normandy. In the Netherlands, the graves are laid flowers on by individuals. Claude, couldn't you get something done in Normandy?»
The idea will grow. As soon he got back home, he contacts his friends and several officials. He gets a very positive response, even enthusiastic.
Claude organizes a first meeting in St Lô. There are several volunteers, the board of directors is rapidly created and Claude suggests a name for the new association « Les Fleurs de la Mémoire » are created. Registered office at the Departemental Council in Saint Lô, administrative office in St-Jean-de-Daye. The association determines one first challenge : 500 graves adopted in 2001. More than 2,000 will be adopted!
When Marie-Thérèse Cueff becomes president in 2006 after Claude Lavieille's death, there will be 7,400 of them. When George Pierre Joret follows her, we will be at 10,430. And the numbers keep on growing. Frank Towers supported very actively the association, in the USA as well as in France where he came very often until he died on July 4, 2016.