It is wild to think that the United States of America began its involvement in WWII 80 years ago. It was 80 years ago that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. This attack not only got the US amped up to fight in the Pacific but abruptly ended our silence to the ongoing war in Europe. Soon we had men fighting on both fronts of the war. Soldiers from all over the country volunteered to take up arms and defend the USA. Many of those soldiers were from right here in Montana.

Some Montana soldiers fought the Japanese in the Pacific, and some fought in Europe. Not all of them returned. One of those brave soldiers, who did not return, was a pilot from Whitefish, Montana.

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The story of Norbert Herriges is probably one you have never heard. But, for the people of a small village in France, Norbert's name is legendary.

According to Military Times, Norbert was shot down over France by an enemy plane in 1944.

Herriges managed to bail out of his Thunderbolt, but his parachute failed to open and during the incident, he was shot in the head. The owners of a farm where Herriges landed hid his body from the Germans until they were threatened with execution.


World War Two Europe 1943
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The farmers did not care what the Germans thought. They aimed to have a proper funeral for the pilot from Montana. So they gathered in the small village of Pourrieres, France. People came from miles and miles to pay their respects to the fallen soldier. In fact, the population of the town tripled the day of the funeral.

Even though the story of Norbert Herriges is not one we may have heard of here in Montana for the town of Pourrieres, he is a part of their heritage. So much so, that a French filmmaker named Lionel Kabac decided to make a movie surrounding the story of Herriges.

It is called A Summer in Provence

LOOK: 100 years of American military history

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