Posted by: David Kiley on May 4, 2005
This weekend, May 7 and 8, marks the 6oth anniversary of V-E Day, the end of the war in Europe in World War Two.
No, it’s not about marketing today. My father, Charles Kiley, a Stars and Stripes newspaper reporter, had the distinction of being the only reporter in Reims, France in May 1945 to cover the negotiations between the German command and the Allies led by Dwight Eisenhower. He then covered the actual surrender, and then went off to Berlin to cover the separate surrender by the Germans to the Russians. His report served as the “pool” report for the worldwide press.
In 2000, I traveled to the museum in Reims France that preserves the room where the negotiations and surrender took place just as it was 60 years ago, and was troubled to find no exhibits or interpretations in English. After I got over my “Bill O’Reilly” moment in which I lambasted the French, I decided last year to reach out to the museum and ask if they would create an exhibit around my father’s report. They did. The museum curator was gracious and more than happy to work with me. And that’s where I will be this weekend. Dedicating the exhibit, and standing in for my father who died in 2001.
I’m a lucky man. I’m standing in big shoes. And I am using my blog today to link to a page with my father’s report so those who wish to recall the events of 60 years ago can read exactly what happened.
Last summer, I had the honor of standing in for him at the D-Day commemoration. I met an extraordinary Frenchman, named Jean-Yves Simon, who wrote a book about the role of the Stars and Stripes newspaper during the D-Day invasion, and specifically about my father. That book was been transformed into a website. It also is an interesting read for those of us who would like to recall the events of 60 years ago while some of the participants are still with us.