painting for peace
Ste Mere Eglise
Madame Renaud
Present   Past Furure

The focus Operation Democracy has is to not only rekindle not only the history that was formed over 70 years ago with the community of Sainte Mere Eglise, France but to continue in the hearts of our young children in the community of Locust Valley.

Operation Democracy has been working today towards honoring our ancestor’s mission. Projects that have come out of the rebirth of Operation Democracy are: the bronze plaque with the History and story of Operation Democracy that honors the village and the founders (2006), Lady Liberty Ball (2008), 9/11 Memorial Garden (2011), Refurbishing of the WWII Monument (2011), Yearly Programs during Veterans Day and Memorial Day, Music for Peace (2009-2013), Painting for Peace(2011-2017) and the International Art Exhibit Painting for Peace in France (2012-2017) and participating in the official ceremonies in Sainte Mere Eglise, France honoring the historic bond between the two Sister Cities from 1947. (D-Day, June 6th) as well as Flags for Freedom and the theatrical plays performed by the students of Normandy and Locust Valley.

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The history books that today’s student’s read can never give an accurate picture of the sacrifices made by previous generations. Hundreds of American Soldiers have served in foreign wars and educating our children – the next generation, how and why so many gave so much to protect the very values and freedoms that we have is important. Teaching our children to “Never Forget” is the first steps and planning events that fun with a purpose is the road Operation Democracy is on.

Operation Democracy’s first project was, Lady Liberty Ball (2008) which donated funds to a comprehensive after school program for elementary school aged children in the town of Salt, Jordan; under the direction of the Middle Eastern Children’s Institute and Summer Soiree sent school supply kits for children in war torn areas through the organization, Operation Iraqi Children. Today, we are excited (2012) to have our Junior Committee once again host this dance for our young generation of Locust Valley. The funds they raise will continue to help us raise awareness and achieve our goals about Operation Democracy mission.

Since resurrecting Operation Democracy from the history books, the past 11 years, representatives Operation Democracy have been traveling to Saint Mere Eglise, France during the annual D-Day (June 6th) ceremonies honoring the veterans, to rekindle the bond of these two villages. On June 6, 2012) to Sainte Mere Eglise we were pleased to have Mayor LeFevre honor this historic bond between our two sister cities, new panels at the entrance to the village. . During the D-Day ceremonies Operation Democracy worked with the AVA of Sainte Mere Eglise and held a very well received Painting for Peace International Art Show, which continues today 2017.. Mayor LeFevre agreed that the education of our children is very important and what has happened in the past shouldn’t be forgotten. The Mayor gave his approval that Ste. Mere Eglise will work with Operation Democracy /Locust Valley and reforge the bond through our children that was set 70 years ago. Today, the new Mayor Jean Quetier of Sainte Mere Eglise supports the student exchanged and in March of 2016, 40 students for the high schools of Carentan and Cherboug arrived in Locust Valley with the Mayor to reconnect this historic sister city friendship.

This year marked the 5th annual Art Exhibit called Painting for Peace. The concept was to honor the Veterans & Soldiers of our community and the let the students of Locust Valley paint their interpretation of what peace meant. This event is held in conjunction of Memorial Day in May as a way to honor and “Never Forget” our military. This year exhibit entries were outstanding- over 68 artists submitted works of art for the show. 24 painting were picked and taken to Normandy during D-Day to be shown at the International Student Art Exhibit- Painting for Peace. This was exciting for not only the students of Locust Valley and Sainte Mere Eglise but for both communities and this is the future.

Operation Democracy was honored to be apart of the Locust Valley High School Veterans Day held the week of November 11th. .As the school prepared for the ceremonies, and philanthropic action in honor of our veterans and their myriad sacrifices to our nation and world, Operation Democracy sponsors the military speakers and this year challenged the middle school students the meaning of certain words like, honor, integrity, bravery and teamwork. Mr. David Ethe, Director of Social Studies put together a touching day of about what Veterans Day meant. The 700+ students sat in quiet and listened the Veterans, watched a video 5 minutes video from active duty soldier, Lt. Matt Visser speak about he importance of remembering Veterans Day.

Operation Democracy has continued to support the Memorial Day Parade and our local American Legion Hall -Howard Van Wagner Post 962.

In 2015, Operation Democracy created a new Memorial Day Program called Flags for Freedom. This special day is held for the graduating class of Locust Valley High School. Each student is presented a folded American Flag, which has been folded by a Veterans and presented by a Veterans in honor of a soldier who has sacrificed their life for the freedoms we enjoy today. Edcuating our graduating students the importance of the flag and the symbol that it stands for. For the past 3 years, Operation Democracy has presented each year 160 to 182 flags. Never Forget.

As part of rekindling Operation Democracy, we hope to work with the local schools and implement this film as a documentary that will be shown every year. This is a part of history that we want our local students to learn about the past and not forget.

On Saturday, June 4th,2011 during the annual week long ceremonies honoring D-Day Veterans in Sainte Mere Eglise, founding "Sister City" of Locust Valley; Kaye Weninger was the recipient of the first Maureen Kennedy Award, established to honor those Americans and French who have done most to promote positive Franco/American relations. Kaye shared the $10,000 prize with the A.V.A. (Amitie Veterans Americains) a group-founded post WWII by Simone Renaud, wife of the wartime Mayor of Sainte Mere Eglise and the subject of the recently completed documentary "Mother of Normandy". Maurice Renaud, youngest son of Alexandre and Simone Renaud, who established the award in memory of Maureen Kennedy, a staunch patriot and advocate for encouraging the strengthening of the bonds of historic and necessary friendship between France and America, presented the award to Operation Democracy.

Locust Valley Projects included: Spearheading and completion of the 9/11 Memorial Garden and refurbishing of the WWII Monument. (2011) ---as a way to “Never Forget”.

IPADS for Soldiers continues in our Locust Valley School. In 2015, Kaye Weninger, President of Operation Democracy, went to Walter Reed Hospital and presented 10 Wounded Warriors with IPADS from the students of Locust Valley. The soldiers were moved that they received these gifts from the students. Very emotioanl experience for the students as well as Operation Democracy. The LVMS has continued to make a difference and raise money for our wounded warriors.

Operation Democracy's goal is to continue in all these heartful powerful projects but is looking to a project for the 75th anniversary of D-Day in June of 2018. Operation Democracy is looking into building a playground in the historic war torn village of Sainte Mere Eglise. This village does not have a public playgroung and Operation Democracy thought it could be a Playground for Peace. This would serve as a way to continue to raise awareness through education and history. Please contact us if you would like to be involved in our future goals. 516.637.8496 or make a donation today. Thank you.

Never forget.