Iowa Stories

John A. Guyader, Eagle Grove

(Nominated by Veronica Guyader)
Robert Blue Middle School
February 24, 2011

I am nominating my father, John A. Guyader, a veteran of World War II and proud citizen of the USA.  When WW II started, my father was a French citizen who was escaping Nazi occupied France. He was present when Nazi paratroopers dropped out of the sky, and without a clear knowledge of his surroundings as his employer sent him off on his own, found his way to the demarcation line and crossed it in the dead of night with border troops not too far off. As soon as he was safe, he made his choice to join the armed forces.  Seventy years ago this February, my father joined the Free French Marines and served in Northern Africa, and later guarded the French Gold in the Caribbean island of Martinique.  My dad was in Morocco when he heard the blessed news of the troops arriving in Normandy on D-Day and said it was one of the greatest days in his life. He still has heartfelt sorrow for all those Americans lives lost that day in order to liberate his home country.

When he was in Martinique, he had met a soldier from Wright County, Iowa who had not yet become a US citizen and was fighting for France. He was uneducated and could not write to his mother. My dad wrote to this young soldier’s family in Iowa, and later helped bury their son when he died due to the effects of war. In gratitude, this same family later sponsored my dad to come to the US in 1947. He has loved every day, and is proud to be a US citizen. My only sorrow is that my dad has never been recognized for his service as a veteran of WWII or as a hard working and giving US citizen. Because he is not a US Veteran, he has never been honored for his sacrifice and service. Because he no longer is a resident of France, he has never been honored with his peers or by his former countrymen.  My dad is 90 years old and this opportunity for him to stitch the National 9/11 Flag, the special symbol that this particular flag is, would be a great honor for our whole family.