Ben Wax embarked on the footsteps of his father, an intelligence officer in the American army during the Second World War, 79 years after his landing in Normandy. His journey took him to the Marne, where we met him on June 6, 2023.

It’s an emotional journey for Ben Wax. This 67-year-old American is the son of a soldier who served in World War II as a captain. Intelligence officer, he will be rewarded with the Bronze Starthe fourth-highest award for bravery, heroism, and merit in the U.S. military.

Seventy-nine years after D-Day, June 6, 2023, Ben has decided to follow in the footsteps of his father, Captain Benjamin W. Wax. A trip that brought him to Normandy, but also to the Marne.

He was very young when his father died, at the age of 46. “I did not attend his funeral. he explains. He has very few memories of him. He never wrote anything. Everything was orally. And I was six years old so I don’t remember anything.” This trip is therefore an opportunity for him to try to learn more about his father’s past and his action during the war.

Ben can on the other hand count on photos and documents of the time. “I had five photos that I knew were all taken in the same place. It was a very special castle. I didn’t know if it was in England or France.”

Ben posted them on a Facebook group dedicated to World War II in hopes of learning more. “Within an hour someone told me they knew where it was taken.” It is therefore the domain of Commetreuil, in Bouilly, near Reims (Marne) which appears on the pictures.

Almost 80 years later, Ben Wax finds himself in the same place as his father. He feels a “deep, very deep emotion”as he stands close to the castle in front of which his father was immortalized.” That brings me emotionally closer to a father I never knew,” he confides on June 6, 2023.

The previous days, the retiree, who is making the trip with his wife and friends, was in Normandy, near Sainte-Mère-Eglise. They approached the place where Captain Benjamin W. Wax parachuted into France in June 1944 with the 501e U.S. Army Parachute Infantry Regiment, in drop zone D. “He landed at 1:30 a.m. in an apple tree, head upside down, facing a cow”smiled his son.

My father died when I was very young. So I’m trying to deepen my understanding of who he was. It makes me feel closer.

In the Marne, his trip also took him to Reims, to the red brick building which now houses the Museum of Surrender and the Franklin Roosevelt high school. But before becoming a museum, the place, located very close to the station, housed the headquarters of the Allied forces in North-Western Europe. It was there that the surrender of the German armed forces was signed on May 7, 1945. Another capitulation was signed the next day, in Berlin.

Ben Wax claims his father was present at HQ on May 7, 1945. “I know he was in the building. I don’t know if he was in the room [où la reddition a été signée]. I’ve seen a few photos, but I’ve never seen him in any of them.”

After these few emotionally charged days, Ben plans to continue his trip to France, the first of his life, discovering the south of France as a pure tourist. But he does not rule out returning one day to our country to learn more about his father, but also about his grandfather, who fought in the First World War.