He was a WWII US veteran. He landed in Vierville-sur-Mer (Calvados Department) on June 13, 1944, the day he turned 27.
He was a Lieutenant in the 30th US Infantry Division and liaison officer which explains why he perfectly knew each and every Norman small roads and villages. St-Jean-de-Daye is the first village he liberated. He took part in Operation COBRA which followed the liberation of Saint-Lô, then in the hard fighting in Mortain.
His combat led him to Domfront, Evreux, in the Bulge, then in Belgium, the Netherlands and finally in Germany until the end of the War. He spent several years in the occupied Germany and upgraded to Major.
He was awarded many medals :
- Bronze Star Medal for his heroism
- The Purple Heart Medal for being wounded in combat actions (he got wounded twice and still had a shrapnel in his cheek after the War)
- The French Croix de Guerre
- The Commemerative medal for the Battle of Normandy
- The Belgian fourragère
- The Memorial Cross of Holland
- The Dutch Queen’s Medal which makes him a member of the Orange-Nassau royal family
- And, above all the French Légion d’Honneur he was awarded in Mortain in June 2009
He was president and historian of the US Infantry Division veterans association. He was also the founder and manager of the WWII museum at Camp Blanding, Florida, where several American divisions trained before departing to England.
He was married, father of four, grandfather, great-grandfather and lived in Brooker, Florida.
Co-founder of « Les Fleurs de la Mémoire »
He was at the origins of the cration of « Les Fleurs de la Mémoire », the association whose members lay flowers on the soldiers’ graves in the American Cemetery in Normandy (Colleville and St James). Here follows some excerpts of the letter Frank sent in December 2000 to Claude Lavielle, president and founder of this association.
« When I’m traveling to Europe, the most difficult thing for me is to visit my division comrades’ graves in the American Cemeteries since, as a liaison officer, I knew almost everone of them. Every visit is a hardship. When I’m here, standing silently at the foot of a grave, images of this comrade’s life come to my mind. It’s the same in front of each graves. Time after time. But I have to do that. I can’t exempt myself from doing it. Soon, neither I nor my comrades will be able to visit the graves of those who stayed in Europe. Will they be abandoned… If, upon my request, thanks to the action you accept to undertake, you are successful at convincing the people from Normandy to lay flowers on a grave every year, I would deeply feel like I pay one last tribute to my fallen comrades. »
Ambassador of the French-American friendship
Frank Towers was a tireless ambassador of Peace, Remembrance and French-American friendship.
Since the 80’s, he came to Normandy about every two years and stays in a French family who considers him a member of the family.
He fought for France. He loved and respected this country which he tried to be better known by his compatriots, and particularly the young ones.
He kept in touch – through mail, internet, invitation at his place or visiting – with the countries he liberated’s inhabitants, officials or citizens.
Some deeds, subsequent tohis fighting, showing his affection for France and deserving to be noticed :
The main goal of his visits to France was to visit his brothers in arms’ graves in the two American Cemeteries : Colleville and St James.
But then, he was alwways willing to meet with people and learn more about the friendly people of Normandy.
He went many a time in schools and junior highs so as to meet young people. Always carrying the same message :
“We must, of course, remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend Liberty but we must also acknowledge that war is terror and do every thing we can to preserve Peace.”
Once back home, he did the same with the youth of his country who ignore all or almost all of what happened during World War Two.
He organized regular meetings and hosted conferences.
He voluntarily took part in the creation and operation of a WWII museum in Florida.
In 1997, thanks to Claude Lavielle’s resolution, he was presented with a geniune borne of the Liberty Road, given by the Manche prefect, which is now in his museum’s park. (On the dedication day, an American students group made up a choir and sang the French National Anthem in french.)
He organized four veteran trips to France (275 persons in 1984) and every time it was some meetings and exchanges with the population. These bounds always remained. During the second war in Iraq, Frank took a stand in the French position and stated loud and clear, by interposed media, that, no, France had not forgotten the USA action back in 1944. He told on the radio and american newspapers about the warm welcoming of veterans in Normandy and affirmed relentlessly the friendship uniting the people of our two countries.
In 2000, while his friends Claude and Marie-Thérèse Lavieille were in Florida, he addressed to them as such :
« Soon, I will be too old to travel to France.
Then, who will visit my comrades buried in Normandy ?
Claude, you must do something. »
He was then behind the creation of « Les Fleurs de la Mémoire » whose he was sponsor, honorary member and supporting member.
He was also made honorary citizen of several French towns.
During his trip to France in 2009, he was awarded the French Légion d’Honneur.
The previous year he confided to his friends :
« That is my last wish. »
He came back in Normandy in April 2010 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of « Les Fleurs de la Mémoire » on the occasion of the Congress in Cabourg.
His last trip in Normandy dates back from June 2014 to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of D-Day.
Frank passed away on July 4, 2016 in Florida.
Rest in Peace, Frank.