‘Greatest day of my life’: WWII veteran reunites with lover after 75 years

Posted: Updated:
MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WREG/CNN) -

A World War II veteran finally reunited with his long lost love after 75 years. 

K.T. Robbins was a 24-year-old solider stationed in Briey, France, when he first met Jeannine Ganaye, who was 18 at the time. He was unloading cans of lard when Ganaye and two children asked if they could have the leftovers.

“I said great, have them all,"  Robbins recalled. "We didn’t have a place to put them.”

That encounter led to more time with Ganaye and her family. Robbins spent three months in her French village.

“Finally, I begin to get a courtship," Robbins said.

But their love story eventually had to press pause after Robbins got shipped out in 1944.

"After I left, she thought I was coming back," Robbins said. "She waited for me five years to come back."

He never returned to her village; life got in the way of that. After the war, Robbins returned home to Memphis, went to Ole Miss, married his wife Lillian and bought a hardware store.

“We had a good life together," Robbins said of his wife. "We were married 70 years, but this other thing was still in my heart."

That other thing (or person): Jeannine Ganaye.

A local group called Forever Young Veterans heard about Robbins’ story, so they wanted to help him get back to France for the 75th anniversary of D-Day. But they also wanted to help him get back to his first love.

They made it happen.

"Greatest day of my life, I reckon," Robbins said. "It was great."

Robbins and Ganaye spent two hours together at the French nursing home where she now lives.

“I always loved you,” Robbins told Ganaye, in a video posted by Forever Young Senior Veterans. “You never got out of my heart.” 

As it turns out, Ganaye got married eventually as well, but neither ever got over their first love for each other.

Robbins now lives in Olive Branch, Mississippi. He said he invited Ganaye and her children to come visit him here, and he doesn't think their love story is over just yet.

Copyright 2019 WREG via CNN. All rights reserved.