- KT Robbins, now 97, and Jeannine Pierson, now 92, were reunited in France
- Robbins came back to the country for the 75th D-Day anniversary celebrations
- Told a group of French journalists about Pierson, who he still had a picture of
- They fell in love in 1944 but Robbins then had to leave to fight in Eastern Front
- Both got married and have families of their own, but still thought of each other
- Now both widowed, Robbins and Pierson have promised they will meet again
In the midst of World War II, a young American soldier fell head over heels in love for an 18-year-old French girl while he was stationed in her small hometown.
Fast-forward 75 years and KT Robbins, now 97, has finally been reunited with the woman whose picture he has treasured for more than half a century.
Robbins was a 24-year-old soldier in the US Army when he first laid eyes on Jeannine Ganaye, now 92, in the northeastern French town of Briey in 1944.
Robbins had been looking for someone to wash his clothes, and her mother agreed to help.
The pair quickly fell in love but, two months later, Robbins was told he had to quickly leave the village and head to the Eastern Front to fight against the Axis Powers.
'I told her maybe I'll come back and take you, but it did not happen like that,' Robbins told French television channel France 2.
'When he left in the truck I cried, of course, I was very sad,' added Jeannine, whose last name is now Pierson. 'I wish, after the war, he hadn't returned to America.'
When the war came to an end in 1945, Pierson began learning basic English phrases, hoping Robbins would one day return for her.
Instead Robbins, who enlisted in the 26th Infantry, First Division in 1940 and later volunteered to serve in a bakery battalion, returned to America.
It was there he met and married Lillian, his wife of 70 years. They worked alongside each other in a hardware store in Mississippi for 50 years. She passed away in 2015 at the age of 92.
Pierson also fell in love again. She got married in 1949 and became a mother to five children.
But Robbins never forgot about his French lover, keeping a black-and-white photo of Pierson and her village tucked away for decades.
And he still had that photo when he was approached by a group of French journalists for a report on World War II veterans in the United States.
Robbins showed them Pierson's photo and told them he would like to return to her village 'to find her family' while he was in France for the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
He assumed that Pierson had passed away, adding: 'For sure I won't ever get to see her.'
But the journalists managed to track down Pierson, finding her at a retirement home in Montigny-lès-Metz, Moselle, about 27 miles from where the pair first met.
They arranged a reunion for Robbins and Pierson at the retirement home, telling the veteran: 'She's alive, and she's waiting for you'.
'No kidding!' Robbins exclaimed.
Robbins and Pierson immediately embraced when they were reunited, gazing into each other's eyes with adoration and joy.
'I always loved you. You never got out of my heart,' Robbins told Pierson.
'He said he loves me. I understood that much,' Pierson told one of the journalists in French.
Robbins then pulled out the photo of Pierson he had kept for so many decades, telling her: 'This is you'.
'Wow,' she exclaims.
Pierson then asked why Robbins hadn't come back to see her sooner.
'I've always thought of him, thinking maybe he'll come,' she said. 'I wish he had come back.'
'You know, when you get married, after that you can't do it anymore,' Robbins replied.
The former lovers spent a few hours together before Robbins had to leave for the anniversary celebrations in Normandy.
Now both widowed, Robbins and Pierson promised they would meet again.
'Jeannine, I love you girl,' Robbins said as their eyes begin to wet and their lips met, once again, for the first time in 75 years.
Compiled by Olalekan Adeleye