Mayor of French village honors Oklahomans who served in World War II

by Matt Dinger Published: October 1, 2012
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The mayor of Bourgaltroff, France, is in Oklahoma for the next two weeks, in part to honor a black soldier killed in World War II.

Sylvain Hinschberger arrived Friday in Oklahoma City, and plans to visit the Tecumseh memorial site for Ruben Rivers, an Army staff sergeant killed defending French territory in November 1944.

Rivers, whose remains are buried in France, was not properly recognized until the Clinton presidency, Hinschberger said.

Rivers was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor in 1997.

Repaying a visit

Hinschberger is the guest of Hall Duncan, who served with Rivers in France.

Duncan's hand was wounded by a bullet during combat.

“Why Oklahoma? Because last year, Dr. Duncan, from Oklahoma City, was in my village,” Hinschberger said.

Duncan felt that Rivers had not received proper recognition for his efforts and arranged a permanent memorial in the French town of Beueblin, near Bourgaltroff.

“It's a big thanks for the U.S. Army and all the soldiers who died for my freedom, for freedom for my country,” Hinschberger said.

Hinschberger also stopped by the Oklahoma City National Memorial and Museum on Sunday afternoon to lay a memorial wreath.

He received permission to wear the official French sash during all ceremonies performed in Oklahoma City during his visit.

Duncan and Hinschberger will make a joint presentation at the University of Central Oklahoma's Radke Auditorium at 4 p.m. Wednesday. Hinschberger will travel to Tecumseh to visit Rivers' memorial site Oct. 8, before returning to France on Oct. 15.

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by Matt Dinger
Court Reporter
Matt Dinger was born and raised in Oklahoma City. He has worked in OPUBCO's News and Information Center since 2006, and has been assigned to the breaking news desk since its formation in fall 2008. He specializes in crime and police reporting.
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