Raymond L. Smith still remembered in La Roquebrussanne, France

Laura Albrecht, of California, Ky., holds a photo of her great-uncle, Raymond Smith,  one of only two soldiers killed on August 18, 1944, while liberating La Roquebrussanne, a small village in southwest France. Every year since the town has honored their bravery and sacrifice.

On a summer afternoon, a commemoration starts in La Roquebrussanne, a village in Southern France. After French veterans line the village’s main street, personnel dressed in 1940s military garb walk through the narrow strip.

As the volunteers reach the town hall, they stop.

Moments later, the mayor then lays a floral wreath below a marble plaque fixed on the hall. Engraved in the stone is the name of a soldier and his home: Cincinnati, Ohio.

The facade of the La Roquebrussanee Town Hall where commemorative plaques honor the loss of two American soliders who died liberating the French town in 1944.

The soldier is Private First Class Raymond L. Smith, who was shot to death by a Nazi sniper in La Roquebrussanne while liberating the village from German occupation in World War II. While few at home remember Smith, thousands of miles away in France, he has been honored for over 75 years – and will be for years to come.

Following a minute of silence to honor Smith and Private First Class Kenneth Fountain, who died along with Smith, both the American and French national anthems are played.

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