By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,779)
The Key to the City of Portland was awarded to Lt. Josian Grenet, Commanding Officer of the FS Fulmar, by Mayor Michael Brennan in a ceremony yesterday morning at city hall. Participating in the ceremony were numerous city and state officials as well as representatives of the French government from Boston.
The roughly 120 ft. FULMAR, a former fishing vessel, is based at Saint Pierre and Miquelon Islands, off the southern coast of Newfoundland. The ship assists other vessels and polices the fisheries in what is known as the French Exclusive Economic Zone surrounding the territory. The seas in the area are particularly treacherous during the winter with winds sweeping down from the east Lt. Grenet told mhn.com this morning during a visit onboard the ship. The FULMAR leaves Portland Harbor on Monday.
May 8th marks the anniversary of the end of World War 11 in Europe – VE Day. “Our presence here together is testament to the unique bonds of friendship and brotherhood-in-arms that France and the United States have shared for over two centuries since the Battle of Yorktown in 1781,” Lt. Grenet said at the city hall ceremony yesterday. He recalled the role of the French in our Revolutionary War and recalled the Count of Rochambeau and the Marquis de La Fayette among others. Lt. Grenet remembered the Allied troops who arrived on the beaches of Normandy to liberate France from Nazi Germany in 1944. “The countless cemeteries throughout France are constant and painful reminders of these young servicemen ultimate sacrifice for Europe’s freedom.
State Senate President Justin Alfond read a proclamation from the Maine State Legislature and said that thirty percent of the population of Maine is of French ancestry. House Representative Ann Haskell awarded Lt. Grenet with the Maine State Flag.
Mayor Michael Brennan, in his concluding remarks said: “We see ourselves as an international city and its a pleasure to welcome you to our waterfront of which we are proud.”