Nerves mixed with excitement as Chief Warrant Officer 2 Nicolas Viennot waited for his father in a French airport.
It had been three years since the French-native had visited France to see his father. He couldn’t wait to tell him that he was not only serving in the United States Army, but that he had fulfilled his dream of becoming a pilot on a UH-60 Black Hawk.
Just minutes earlier, Viennot had stepped off the plane and dashed to find a bathroom so he could change into his camouflage green Army uniform. His hair was trim and his uniform pressed neatly, as he stood waiting.
“My dad saw me, he saw my patch,” said Viennot, now 37, with a lingering French accent. “He started crying. It just triggered something in him.”
Viennot didn’t realize it, but his 82nd Airborne Division patch took his father, Serge Viennot, back more than 70 years to the streets of Troyes, France, where the townspeople lived in trembling fear under forceful German control.
The elder Viennot would never forget that patch.
It was the patch sewn on the sleeves of the Americans who stuck out their arms from tanks to share their food with the hungry, and who waved their hands offering the slightest glimmer of peace.
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