70TH INFANTRY DIVISION
ALSTING/ZINZING MEMORIAL DEDICATION
SPEECH BY MAYOR WORING OF ALSTING
on MAY 8, 1995
is the text of the two speeches made by Alsting Mayor Woring on May
8, 1995 in connection with the dedication of the Memorial in Alsting,
Mr. Sub-Perfect. Mr. Senator. Mr. Deputy, Messrs. Regional
Councilors, Mr. General Councilor, Mr. President of the District of
Forbach, District Mayors;
Dear friends, the veterans of the 70th American Division,
ladies, gentlemen and guests;
As the first US tanks arriving from Grosbliederstroff
entered Alsting via Zinzing on this road, the inhabitants sheltered
in their basement were torn between fear and hope. Fear, fear of the
battles which continually endangered the civilian population, but
also hope especially hope in seeing the period of occupation come to
In observing the events taking place in eastern Europe,
one may ask the question: "Does liberty bring happiness?" There, it
is often said that they were possibly never happier as under
repression. The history of Lorraine, of our region, provides a
contradictory answer. Here we grew accustomed to suffering and
deprivation, tossed back and forth as we were, through the
centuries, from one country to another, often by men who were
temporarily placed in the spotlight by people feigning to be
impressed. But here we have been instilled with the notion that the
only beacon of humanity which can enlighten nations is that which
guides us to liberty.
Although current events confirm that the tragedies of
others are appallingly trivialized because we remain indifferent to
numerous catastrophes and injustices as long as it is others that
are being affected; we must never lose hope and resign.
Today we realize that those who liberated us coming from
that continent which we call the new world, didn't remain
indifferent to our misfortunes. Fifty years ago the Americans came
and helped us become free men, free to think, to speak, to choose,
in other words to exist. Region by region, village after village the
allies recaptured for us the right to live freely.
Some of the US veterans which brought this hope to us in
Alsting on February 20th, 1945 are here with us today, living
testaments to our refound honor. Along with the emotions they
experience in returning to the place of their battles is the
gratitude of a village for its liberators.
Let us reflect on those who died here to liberate Alsting
and on this anniversary of May 8th, 1945, reflect on all those
victims - civil and military - who paid for human intolerance with
The elders remember and will never forget!
So that future generations may perpetuate the memory, so
that the gratitude which is owed you, dear US veterans, never falls
into the oblivion of time, we are proud today to inaugurate a
monument in commemoration of the 70th American Division in this
small square which henceforth shall be called "Liberation Square".
In the name of all the citizens of Alsting, I would like
to thank you for having been here in 1945 and thank you for being
Long live the United States of America!
Long live France!
Long live Alsting!
Speech at the Reception:
Having concluded the official ceremonies, please permit
me, ladies, gentlemen and guests, to welcome you to our village hall
where the inhabitants of Alsting would like to spend some time in
the company of the veterans of the 70th US division and their
The pleasure of physically seeing those who came to
liberate us 50 years ago is compounded by the desire to directly
express our gratitude.
Dear veterans, we would like to share a few moments of
friendship with you in order that we may better know you and engrave
you in our memories.
Imagine if Christopher Columbus had never made a
discovery; if Kennedy would possibly still be alive - but us - where
would we be today? What would have become of us?
Thanks to God - we are grateful that you did exist and are
delighted that you could join us today. I would also like to thank
all those who enthusiastically contributed to the success of this
day. A special thanks to Mr. Gilbert Starck, president of the local
Veterans Association who along with his team initiated the
organization of festivities for this May 8th, 1995 in Alsting.
I would also like to extend special thanks to you ladies
and gentlemen in elected office who wished to share a few minutes of
your precious time to display the importance you place on the
necessity of continual remembrance, so that these events so not fall
Do not forget for example that in 1945 these Americans,
barely 20 years old, left their families, wives and children to
travel thousands of kilometers away from home to defend the values
of the free world, while others here yielded, maybe too readily, to
fear, sacrificing their values on the alter of tyranny.
But don't relinquish today to the ease of criticism. Let
us rejoice that we are together in a free world, where, as we
experienced on Sunday, democracy seems permanently anchored within
I now invite you to take up your glass in friendship,
expressing our wishes for reconciliation among all people on earth.
An excellent evening to one and to all!
Translated by Marie Lexa; typed by Dale Bowlin