WWII veteran reunites with first love 75 years later

Must See 24/06/2019

Many people agree that whether you end up with them forever or not, your first ever love often stays with you throughout your lifetime. 

For Mr. Robbins, a D-Day veteran, it took over 75 years to finally answers about the woman who first stole his heart. A woman who, even when Robbin's life priorities changed, was always in the back of his mind.

In 1944, a 24-year-old Robbins was stationed in Briey, a northeastern village in France. It was during his time there that he met then-18-year-old Jeannine Ganaye. According to the Irish Post, the pair met when Robbins was looking for someone to do his laundry, and Ganaye's mother stepped up to help.

It didn't take long before the American serviceman and the French teen became lovers.

Unfortunately for the war-time lovers, Robbins, was given a new assignment just two months later, forcing him to leave. His sudden departure for the Eastern Front made it impossible for him and Ganaye to continue courting.

"I told her maybe I'll come back and take you, but it did not happen like that," Robbins recalled.

Ganaye held out hope that the soldier would return once the war ended. She even learned basic English so she could communicate with Robbins.

"When he left in the truck I cried, of course, I was very sad," Ganaye explained. "I wish, after the war, he hadn't returned to America."

Robbins also longed for his lover, keeping a black-and-white photograph of Ganaye with him.

Both Robbins and Ganaye moved on eventually. Upon returning home to Memphis, Robbins met his wife of 70 years, Lillian. As for Ganaye, she tied the knot with another man in 1949.

Mr. Robbins still had a B&W photo of Ganaye to this day.

Recently, Robbins showed the old photograph of his long-lost lover to reporters during the filming of a report on Veterans in the U.S. for France 2. Little did he know that the gesture would change his life.

Earlier this month, Robbins, now 97, was among the delegation of veterans who traveled to Europe to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day. While in France, the journalists surprised him with the news that Ganaye was still alive and wanted to meet him.  

More than seven decades later, the former lovers were reunited. They hugged, kissed and exchanged sweet sentiments.

"I always loved you. You never got out of my heart," Robbins told Ganaye. He showed her the photograph he kept since all these years. Shocked, Ganaye replied, "Wow."