One Man Treats Dozens of WWII Vets to a Meal - - ABC13

One Man Treats Dozens of WWII Vets to a Meal


Reporter: Mark Kelly l Videographer: Ira Quillen

Roanoke, VA - D-Day is credited with turning the tide of history and keeping Western civilization free and democratic. Wednesday, one very generous man served a meal in honor of those who fought and served.

June 6, 1984, Bernard Marie started hosting a big meal for D-Day veterans. And every year, he would pick up the tab. This year, he opened the dinner invitation to even more veterans - those who fought on D-Day and those who fought in any part of World War II.

Marie is part philanthropist and part host, making sure each veteran at the dinner is honored. His generosity has not gone unnoticed.

"Crazy about him because he remembers - remembers his childhood when our troops came ashore, his family had hidden him in the cellar," said George Snead, a WWII veteran.

Marie was just 5 years old on D-Day. Born in Nazi-Occupied France, Marie remembers fondly the Americans liberating his country.

"That's when I learn my first English word - Hershey. They gave me a piece of chocolate," said Marie laughing.

In 1979, Marie immigrated to America. He was disappointed to see that Americans were forgetting D-Day. He started serving these meals so everyone would remember D-Day's place in the history books. Veterans surely can't forget.

"It stopped Germany in its tracks, reversed the direction of the war, it ensured that Europe remained free and democratic for 60 years since it took place," said Anthony Balch, WWII veteran, British Royal Navy.

Preserving Democracy was no small feat. For Marie, there's no better way to say thank you than over a meal. Their service is priceless, even if the dinner is not.

"You won't tell us how much it cost?" we asked Marie.

"No, no," Marie said. "Perhaps you'll see me at the corner of a street somewhere."

This is the first year Marie hosted a dinner. In the past, it's been a luncheon. The only year he did not host the event was 2003 when France's opposition to the war in Iraq created some friction between the French and Americans.

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