FRANKLIN, La. - On Wednesday, August 19, 2020 at noon the City of Franklin will be conducting a live virtual Wreath Laying/Flag Raising Ceremony in honor of Army Ranger, 2nd Lt. Edward V. Loustalot whom was the first American solider to die in Nazi occupied Europe during World War II on August 19, 1942. The French government and its citizens have commemorated and memorialized Lt. Loustalot annually since August 19, 1946.
The City of Franklin and the Loustalot family was just made aware of this in October of 2019 when the City was contacted by Diane Boutier, an American Curator, of the "Memorial du 19 Aout 1942" in Dieppe, France. Ms. Boutier and a small delegate from France traveled to Franklin in January 2020 to help usher in the City's Bicentennial Celebration presentations that were scheduled each month in 2020. At the presentation the City's Mayor Eugene Foulcard and Public Relations Director, Ed "Tiger" Verdin was presented medals of honorary citizenship from the Mayor of Bernaval Le Grand, France.
Unfortunately due to Covid-19 the planned trip for a Louisiana Delegation to attend the memorial in France was disrupted. Utilizing current technology Mayor Eugene Foulcard and Mayor Patrice Philippe will conduct an international memorial for the two regions to virtually celebrate together. This event will be covered live on the City of Franklin, Louisiana-Mayor's Office Facebook page. The Flag that will be raised was flown over his burial site in Ardennes American Cemetery & Memorial in Neupré, Belgium on January 3, 2020, and was presented as a gift to the City of Franklin on January 22, 2020.
Lt. Edward Loustalot was one of the first 50 select U.S. Army Rangers embedded with British Commandos in what is now known as Operation Jubilee or the Dieppe Raid of August 19, 1942. Unfortunately Lt. Loustalot was killed in action during the raid. This raid ultimately gave U.S. and Allied forces a blueprint for the invasion of the beaches of Normandy on D-Day.
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