100-year-old WWII vet to marry in French town after D-Day commemorations

Carentan-les-Marais, France - Hundred-year-old World War II veteran Harold Terens will marry his 96-year-old fiancee Saturday in the French town of Carentan-les-Marais, just days after being honored on the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings that took place a few miles away.

American World War II veteran Harold Terens and his fiancée Jeanne Swerlin embrace outside the Chateau de Villers-Bocage, ahead of their wedding.
American World War II veteran Harold Terens and his fiancée Jeanne Swerlin embrace outside the Chateau de Villers-Bocage, ahead of their wedding.  © WIN MCNAMEE / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Terens' 11:00 AM wedding to Jeanne Swerlin will be followed by a celebration "with his loved ones, in a small group," said Sarah Pasquier, the town hall's representative for D-Day commemorations.

"We are very honored that Mr. Terens has chosen to get married here, in Carentan, where in June 1944 the meeting of Allied troops from the landings at Utah and Omaha beaches took place," Mayor Jean-Pierre Lhonneur told AFP.

"We will offer him champagne, of course, but also a gift to thank him for having participated in the liberation of France."

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After the ceremony, "depending on his possible fatigue," Terens may join in a parade of veterans in the center of Carentan during the afternoon, according to Pasquier.

A liberation ball will be also be held in the evening as part of the D-Day commemorations, she said, with attendees "invited to dress in the 1940s theme, and solders from the nearby American base welcome."

"But Mr. Terens and his wife may be too tired to join," she added.

Harold Terens and Jeanne Swerlin's love story

Terens and Swerlin will be married two days after the 80th anniversary of D-Day in a small town in Normandy.
Terens and Swerlin will be married two days after the 80th anniversary of D-Day in a small town in Normandy.  © WIN MCNAMEE / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

Terens, who lives with Swerlin in Boca Raton, Florida, was awarded the French Legion of Honor by President Emmanuel Macron in 2019.

After the war, Terens married his first wife, Thelma, with whom he spent 70 years and raised three children until her death in 2018.

In 2021, a friend introduced him to Swerlin, a charismatic woman who had also been widowed, and the two have been inseparable practically ever since.

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"She lights up my life, she makes everything beautiful," Terens told AFP in an interview last month in Florida. "She makes life worth living."

In the same interview, Swerlin said her fiancee was "an unbelievable guy."

"He's handsome – and he's a good kisser."

Cover photo: Collage: Win McNamee / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP

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