Kehlen Town Hall Tribute & News Conference
After our memorial and tribute to Uncle Harold at the crash site, Luxembourg Army Adjutant John Derneden drove us to Town Hall, to meet with the Mayor (Bürgermeister) of Kehlen, Joseph Halsdorf.  Raymond and Pauline Hoffmann and news photographer Raymond Faber followed in separate cars.  As our small entourage rounded the bend into town, we realized this was not a typical Saturday morning in Kehlen:  a TV news crew, photographers, and reporters awaited us on the steps of the Town Hall...

My wife, Cindy, and I meet the Bürgermeister of Kehlen, Joseph Halsdorf
(Photo courtesy of Raymond Faber)

The Bürgermeister escorted us to a reception room which had been set up for a press conference.  After introductions, Mr. Halsdorf welcomed us, and for the benefit of the press corps, John Derneden gave his account of the history of the crash site, his efforts to contact CILHI (Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii), and the subsequent excavation and repatriation of Lt. Harold Stalnaker's remains and personal effects.
Lt. Stalnaker's flight school graduation picture, 1943 Bürgermeister Halsdorf welcomes us to Kehlen (Photo courtesy of Raymond Faber) John Derneden speaks to the press

Next, Raymond Hoffmann came forward to speak, in his native Lëtzebuergesch ("Luxembourgish" -- his wife, Pauline, translated for us). 

He told of how the farmland surrounding the crash site had been excavated in 1991 for a new drainage line.  That was when they discovered the long-buried engine of Lt. Stalnaker's P-47D aircraft.  The force of the impact had buried the engine.  Raymond participated in the collection of artifacts from the site, seeing to it that the engine was donated to the Battle of the Bulge Museum in Clervaux. 

He went on to explain that he had extracted a piece of the engine, a lifter (valve), that he had later carefully cleaned and restored.  It was at this point that he produced the lifter, and presented it to Charlie.  The Hoffmanns also presented a photo album of pictures taken from the 1991 dig and the CILHI dig in 2002.

Raymond Hoffman in 1991 with the excavated P-47D engine 
(Photo courtesy of Raymond Hoffmann)

Mr. Hoffmann presents a restored lifter (valve) from Lt. Stalnaker's P-47D to Charlie.  Mr. Halsdorf (center) looks on
(Photo courtesy of Raymond Faber)

Charlie, holding the lifter valve, offers his thanks to the Hoffmanns, John Derneden, Mr. Halsdorf, and the kind people of Kehlen and Luxembourg for their enduring hospitality and graciousness.

We were overwhelmed with the gratitude and friendliness expressed by this community.  Mr. Halsdorf led a toast to the memory of Lt. Harold Stalnaker and the American contribution during WWII, and thanked us again for visiting them.

Next stop:  the War Museum of Clervaux, northern Luxembourg,
to view Uncle Harold's P-47D plane engine on display...

A group shot, in front of the commemorative plaque for the community of Kehlen
(Photo courtesy of Raymond Faber)

Contact me (Charlie Stalnaker)
POB 4907, Laguna Beach, California 92652 USA

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