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1999 Closed threads from 1999 (read only)

 
 
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Old 16 July 1999, 03:22 AM   #1
stephen
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I have no good news to post in this whatsoever, but I thought that the people who worked so hard to get more than 300 signatures for our Frank Luke Memorial effort at least deserved a response. Unfortunately, the Mayor of Murvaux does not share that sentiment (yet).

The letter and list of signatures was mailed to the American Embassy in Paris, the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetary near Dun-sur-Meuse, and the Mayor of Murvaux. Both the embassy and the authorities at the cemetery responded in a very positive way, although, of course, it was not in their power to take any action on our behalf. No response has been received from the mayor, to my great dissappointment. A friend of mine who speaks MUCH better French than me has called the "town hall" in search of the mayor on several occasions, but to no avail. No one answers at any time of the day or night. More calls will be attempted, and a follow up letter may also be sent... we've got too much work in this not to try.

But so far, just for the record, no response has been received whatsoever. Very, very dissappointing. Stay tuned.
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Old 16 July 1999, 05:01 AM   #2
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Stephen,
There it is. Never stop fighting til the fight is won!
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Old 16 July 1999, 06:53 AM   #3
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Stephen

Can you find out who the mayor's boss is?
How about contacting some French veterans' organizations? Maybe they would help.

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Old 16 July 1999, 07:26 AM   #4
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Stephen:

Thanks for all of your efforts. I'm still optimistic that it will all work out sometime.

Amy
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Old 16 July 1999, 08:40 AM   #5
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I agree with all above. Let's not give up on this one.

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Old 16 July 1999, 09:07 AM   #6
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Dear Stephen Skinner: The mayor of Murvaux is Serge Colin. Besides being the mayor (le maire) he is also a farmer, or is otherwise busy with agricultural work. He was very kind to me, took me into the town hall, and gave me an 8X10 photo of the installation service of the Air Force plague placed on the monument base. He told me that records concerning Frank Luke were at Bar le Duc but I did not have time to go there. The other thing of note with French mail is: that if you do not have the correct-repeat-correct address that mail is simply thrown away. You have got to have that zip code...Murvaux is a small 'town' with maybe 100 residents, with a single street through the town, not more than 300 meters long, and I don't believe they speak English, nor does the mayor, who could speak German. That may account for the lack of communication....I think that you would have better lluck if you contacted the French Air attache in Washington. I think they have associations with American aviation circles like the League of WWI Aviation Historians, etc...I ssaw the four pins that held the plague in situ, and it could very easily have been removed by souvenir hunters, or vandals...The cost of a metal plague that size (24" x 24") is not that great. My proposition is that the plaque was put up by the flyers at Etain, at their expense, and we should restore it, by subscription among those interested. I am willing to give one dollar toward this from every September Rampage we sell (and anonymously at that) + a personal donation...I also believe that, if it hasn't been done before, we contact the Luke Family in Phoenix, and get their sentiments on this project. That seems appropriate to me. What does the forum think about it? Bill Haiber/EOM/7/16/99.
 
Old 16 July 1999, 04:34 PM   #7
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Bill

That is the most sensible thing I have read in all that has been written about this Luke character. If you want a monument raised / maintained, then pay for it. I am sure that Serge and the other 99 citoyens would be more interested if those who voted put their hands in their pockets.


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Old 19 July 1999, 02:06 AM   #8
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Hey guys... you must have come onto this forum too late to have seen or signed the letter and the research that went into it. I've been to Murvaux twice and will return again soon, and while I'm sure there are more lofty authorities on the topic of Frank Luke than myself, I do have a firm grasp of the situation and have undertaken much original research. I have not had the opportunity to meet Mr. Colin, and I do not doubt that he is as busy as every other human being on earth. Two French veteran's organizations have already expressed interest in seeing the entire monument restored, which may render our efforts duplicitous. Regardless, the letter which was sent to the Mayor's correct address asked simply for information and contained an offer for partial or total funding of the entire project, and of course, was written in perfect French by a French native. All we asked for was some communication, and we expressly stated that if our efforts weren't wanted or needed, we would be quite happy to simply get an occasional update on the status of the plaque replacement (which is all we specifically referred to, not a monument restoration). The family who owns the house directly behind the monument has taken care to plant some very nice flowers at the base of the memorial which was quite kind of them, by the way.

At any rate, please understand the magnitude of research and effort that went into this undertaking. It was certainly not a knee-jerk letter, and it certainly did not ask anyone to pay for anything... we have already had several dozen offers from people on this forum, more than enough to pay for a very nice plaque and the labor to mount it. That is not the problem. As you know, in France it is not as simple as just putting up a plaque... half a dozen bureaucracies have overlapping authority on every blade of grass in France, hence, the appropriate place to start is with the Mayor, then work our way up. It also prevents the awkward difficulties of going over his head and abusing protocol. We have also recruited the support of the appropriate American authorities, who have also heard from two other US based groups on the topic. So there is no shortage of money, no misunderstanding, and no linguistic miscommunication. Unfortunately, there is also no response. That is not a condemnation of Mr. Colin; it's simply a factual observation.

Thank you for the tip about correct addresses. It was double and triple checked by two people living in France, but there's always room for error or misprint. I hope you have a better understanding of the effort now. I will be happy to re-post the English version if you like.
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Old 19 July 1999, 03:34 AM   #9
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Stephen

I too shall be happy to kick in a contribution towards the price of restoring the plaque, if so needed.

VBR
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Old 19 July 1999, 03:46 AM   #10
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And Bill, your generous offer to donate toward a fund is most appreciated. I have easily had 20 or more such offers, but I have NOT collected anything at all at this point for one specific reason: until communication is established with the mayor directly, any fund is in my opinion premature. We all know of well-meaning funds which have mysteriously disappeared in the past for a project which never came to fruition, and I want this one to be above board and well defined PRIOR to it's collection. Again, your kindness is appreciated and rest assured that if and when we can get to the point of action, I will certainly take you up on it!
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