An Opportunity to be Better - Chapter 10 Page 5

Mayor Girard accepts the pen pal's folder from Gloria Freeland

An exchange of gifts followed. Mayor Girard presented the visitors a book about World War II.

In return, the people of Fèves were presented a picture of a Morganville milo field, a table runner made by the Morganville Quilt Group, a folder from the Rieger family of Clay County seeking a pen pal, and a framed letter from the three university students who rediscovered the Morganville-Fèves story.

Fèves book gift

Three gifts for Fèves. Left: Pracht explains that the photo donated by photographer Phil Frigon is of a milo field near Morganville and was framed by Morganville Mayor Brent Rundell and wife Charlotte. Jean-Marie Watiez looks on. Center: Pracht and Freeland hold a table runner made by Deb Taddiken and quilted by Susie Randle of the Morganville Quilt Group. Right: a framed letter from the three Kansas State University students, who breathed new life into the story in 2013.

Following the exchange of gifts, Vaughan explained that it was a tradition in the United States to begin public events with the singing of the national anthem and that was the plan for the night of the Morganville pageant. But Navy Midshipman Ivan Roenigk happened to be home on leave. Ivan was in the Navy choir and had also been studying French. He was persuaded to sing "La Marseillaise," the French national anthem, after Morganville's Lyle Bloom finished singing "The Star-Spangled Banner."

Vaughan suggested that tradition be followed by having Katherine Vaughan finish the formal part of the reception in Fèves by singing "La Marseillaise."

Left: people show their appreciation after Katherine Vaughan, right, sang "La Marseillaise."

When she finished, the Fèvotes asked that she sing "The Star-Spangled Banner." She said she would if someone would sing with her, so Freeland and Mariya Vaughan joined her.

Freeland and daughters Mariya and Katherine
Vaughan sing "The Star-Spangled Banner."

After the program, hours were filled with conversation. There were some people who spoke English, so the visitors had little trouble. Ryan's French classes proved to be very helpful and he was quite a hit with the Fèvotes.

Katherine Vaughan, far right, found an English-speaking friend,
while Ryan - solid blue shirt - applies his high-school French.

As the day drew to a close, the cathedral in Metz was clearly visible to the southeast.

With the light fading, some people retired to the Pracht home on Rue Basse. There the chatting continued until after 10 p.m.

When the Americans finally headed back to their home in Metz, they all agreed that while it had been a long day, it had been a good one.

Pracht pours another round of drinks.