No Love Affair better than Ours!

No Love Affair better than Ours!

Eighty years ago, Harold Terens first set foot in Normandy as a young U.S. Army Air Forces corporal, not long after D-Day. His mission was to help transport German prisoners and freed American POWs to England, a somber task in the wake of the bloody beach landings where many of his friends had fallen.

Fast forward to today, Harold is 100 years old and back in Normandy, but this time for a much happier occasion: his wedding. After taking part in the 80th anniversary of D-Day commemorations, Harold and his 96-year-old fiancée, Jeanne Swerlin, arrived at a charming stone building in Carentan-les-Marais for what Harold called the best day of his life.

Their wedding ceremony was symbolic, not legally binding, but Harold considers it official. He says that he doesn’t plan to pursue legal vows back in the States.

The couple exchanged rings and kisses, toasted with Champagne, and ‘felt like royalty’ waving from a second-floor window. Later, they headed to Paris, where President Macron congratulated them at a state dinner with President Biden.

“There’s no love affair ever, fictional or otherwise, that’s better than ours,” Harold proudly declared.

Both originally from New York City, Harold and Jeanne didn’t meet until about three years ago. During World War II, Harold served as a radio repair technician in the U.S. Army Air Forces, while Jeanne befriended U.S. military personnel who gave her war souvenirs. Both eventually moved to Florida, started families, and experienced deep losses. Harold’s wife of 70 years, Thelma, passed away in 2018, and Jeanne’s fiancé, Sol, died the following year.

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The First Date

Their friends set them up on a date in 2021 at Seasons 52 in Boca Raton. Harold was smitten after their thighs accidentally touched under the table. On their next date, they kissed, and Jeanne declared Harold the best kisser she had ever met. They loved dancing to “Uptown Funk” and “Blurred Lines,” discovering a joy neither thought they’d find again.

“It took 96 years to find out what love is all about,” Jeanne said.

What they did Last Summer!

One night last summer, Harold proposed in Jeanne’s garage, and she accepted with a laugh about how to help him back up.

Last week marked Harold’s fourth trip to Normandy for D-Day commemorations, but this visit was extra special. He wanted the spirits of the 4,000+ Allied troops who died on those beaches to be part of his wedding.

Wedding Bells

On Saturday morning, the couple arrived at Carentan-les-Marais’s town hall to a warm welcome. Harold, in a light-blue suit, and Jeanne, in a pink dress with a bouquet, were met with applause and bagpipe music. Around 40 relatives attended, and Harold’s granddaughter sang Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” as Jeanne walked down the aisle. The town’s mayor officiated, and both answered “Oui” to the big question. Jeanne’s bouquet toss, though, landed on the ground.

After toasting with Champagne from a second-floor window, Harold wished for good health, world peace, and an end to conflicts in Ukraine and Gaza.

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The newlyweds headed to Paris for a state dinner at the Élysée Palace. Harold jokingly expressed a bit of jealousy when Jeanne hugged Biden for a few seconds.

Exhausted but happy, Harold and Jeanne are now looking forward to celebrating their honeymoon in Paris and a long, happy life together.