JANET' S DAY
In June 2004, Clubmobiler
Janet Dillon Blair attended ceremonies in France commemorating the 60th
anniversary of D-Day. She was the guest of honor of the French re-enactment
association Union Group Vexin, which had recently added a restored Clubmobile
to its considerable fleet of World War II era vehicles. This page is
an English translation of one from their site about the ceremonies that
The original page in French may be found here.
They also produced a biographical
page about Janet.
June 7, 2004, 7h00 a.m. A small squad secures the perimeter of Utah Beach
where the ceremony in honor of Janet will take place.
Indeed Janet will baptize our GMC Red Cross Clubmobile,
similar to the one on which she served in 1944 and 1945.
This baptism will take place on the very spot where Janet arrived in France in August 1944.
All is OK, Sir!
While a Union Jeep Viixen patrol and Janet prepare on the beach,
our MP's place the various vehicles and the many
It has begun--the patrol begins to march, followed by the GMC with Janet on
The men of the squad
will welcome Janet with all honors.
In the GMC, which
leaves the beach just as it did 60 years ago, Janet seems delighted!
Janet is welcomed by our Captain of course but also by Monsieur
the Mayor of Sainte Marie du Mont
and various cameras from FR3 television and the Reuters agency.
Spontaneously, Janet greeted one by one all the men of
a beautiful reward for these GIs who trained all
winter for this ceremony.
Already the ceremony is infused with strong emotion...
A speech by our President to thank Janet
for all the sacrifices she made for the liberation of Europe.
Then the baptism
Janet paints the first letter of "DALLAS" on our GMC.
This is the name of
her birthplace but also that of the Clubmobile on which she crossed Europe.
Then as tradition demands, Janet breaks a bottle of champagne on
the vehicle to baptize it...
Our heroine then receives bunch of flowers, and a model
of our GMC
manufactured especially for her by one of the members of the UJV.
is visible but she says some French words to thank everyone.
The ceremony finished,
the many vehicles take the opportunity to drive on this legendary beach.
The convoy takes to the road again
the road for another ceremony in Sainte Marie du Mont...
A bouquet is laid at the memorial to the dead.
Always under the eye
of many cameras, the ceremony attracts many witnesses and collectors...
A reception then takes place in the town hall of Sainte Marie Du Mont.
Janet is made citoyenne of honor by Monsieur the Mayor and receives
a diploma of honor from our association.
In the afternoon the
UJV platoon heads for the cemetery of Colleville in order to honor,
as we do each
year, the memory of Private First Class Antonio Zamora of the 26th infantry regiment
of the Big Red One.
On our arrival the
cemetery resounded to the music of a Scottish Band which came from the cemetery.
Our platoon presented arms...
Many spectators came to see this armed platoon marching
the tomb of the soldier Zamora killed on Omaha Beach June 6, 1944.
Once in place, military honors were given to this GI
who we sponsor, remembering that he had no other family...
To understand the emotion which dominated this ceremony,
one must recall that the
1st division of American infantry "the Big Red One" disembarked in Colleville
with the first wave of assault and remained nailed to the beach under the fire
of the enemy
a good part of the morning before being able to advance.
Thanks to the sacrifice of young soldiers, warrant officers and officers,
the Americans succeeded in taking the beach and its surroundings
but at the price of heavy losses: 3881 GIs paid with their lives and the beach
is justly called "Bloody Omaha" (Omaha the bloody one).
The day ended with a Norman
soiree, with an orchestra organized by our hotel Relais de
la Foret à Montfiquet.