Local churches invited to ring bells to celebrate liberation of Hoptown’s Sister City in France
Hopkinsville, KY — On June 6, bells will chime in Carentan, France —Hopkinsville’s Sister City— at 6:44 pm to celebrate the 76th anniversary of liberation from Nazi Germany rule. In Hopkinsville, 4,193 miles away, bells will also chime to honor this historic event, as local churches are encouraged to participate.
“We are so proud of our relationship with our Sister City, Carentan, and look forward to recognizing this extremely significant date and time in history,” said Hopkinsville Mayor Wendell Lynch. “We invite all churches and organizations that are able to join us, in ringing their bells.”
With a seven-hour time difference, bells will chime in Hopkinsville at 11:44 am (local time) on Saturday, June 6. The historic clock tower, which sits atop the Woody Winfree Fire Station Museum, will be rung by local clock caretaker Russ Hayes.
“The ongoing pandemic crisis has led to the complete cancellation of all our D-Day anniversary events,” Carentan Les Marais Jean-Pierre Lhonneur said. “But this does not mean that we, in Carentan, Normandy and all over France, will let these days pass unnoticed. Quite the opposite really.”
The city of Carentan has dedicated much of its city website to telling the story of what happened in their town 76 years ago and how the people of Carentan have been honoring and celebrating the liberators ever since.
On June 6, 1944, the 101st Airborne Division began its amphibious invasion of Normandy — a high-risk maneuver code named Operation Overlord, according to a Fort Campbell Courier article on March 10, 2016. Fighting to consolidate Omaha and Utah beaches, the soldiers made their way through the town of Carentan in the days following D-Day. From June 10 until 14, the 101st suffered heavy casualties in their battle against the German Wehrmacht.
At the end of the battle, German forces withdrew and the small town was liberated from Nazi occupation.
“There was something to do,” said Co-Founder of the Normandy Victory Museum and coordinator of the Bells of Freedom event in Normandy Patrick Fissot. “In recent days, we have lost several of our veterans, such as Bob Noody or Gorges Schenkel, who both returned regularly. We had to show those who stay that we don’t forget them.”
Fissot also serves as an instructor at the high school in Carentan and chaperoned a group of 20 students to Hopkinsville last March for a week-long visit.
For additional information about participating in the Bells of Freedom event, please contact Brooke Jung, Executive Director, Hopkinsville Convention & Visitors Bureau at 270-887-2300 or [email protected].