Sorry in advance for errors. I have no time to proofread this. I've already spent too much time on it. My apology.
Dale, my experiences in Europe tell me that it's very possible. Let me tell you a story.
There were 2 GIs in West Germany in 1971. They had no civilian clothes yet as they had just arrived in country, so that first weekend saw them going into Mainz to buy some. They were in their army fatigues. They got to the city and went to the tourist information booth near the Bahnhof (train station) and were told that most of the hotels were booked full for a convention or some such that was going on. But the kindly older lady suggested that they go to a small place called The Winehouse Lorenz. Then she proceeded to give them directions that led them through the old roman (they assumed) section of the town, through alleys and such. Then they spied the small sign telling them that they had found it. The sign wasn't promising it was just a simple tin affair looking something like a license plate, but smaller. But they entered since the information lady convinced them that it was a good place and that the university students went there. The proprietor met them and invited them in, got them their room as they were poor GIs and couldn't afford separate rooms. Then they were led down into the old wine cellar that was now a dining room. The room was long and possibly 30' wide with an arched ceiling. the whole thing looked something like a Quonset hut but made of stone. There was a piano in the room.
They ordered their meal and the proprietor seemed sort of strange, but not in a creepy way. Sort of excited. The place began to fill up and sure enough they were all basically our age. They had had a few glasses of wine and were felling absolutely no pain, and the place was jumping. Then the proprietor came over with a bottle of cognac and 3 glasses and asked if he could sit down to which they agreed. He filled the glasses and passed them to the GIs, then he proceeded to tell them a story. It began, " During the 2nd world war I was a boy and my father was in the resistance in France.". We owe you Americans a great deal for what you did for us and I have never been able to thank any American. You are the first I have seen to be able to thank.". With that he raised his glass and they made the first of many toasts that night. After a time he left and told them to finish off the bottle. But during all of that the students began to play the piano and the old mans excitement started to reveal itself. The night was full of songs like, When Johnny comes marching home, The national anthem, America the Beautiful, you get the idea. They had one heck of a great time and all because of a Frenchman who never forgot what better people than those GIs did for the French.
I was one of those 2 GIs and I have a very good memory of that night. The other person was Ferman Davis from Tennessee.
Then possibly 6 months later my platoon had won a trip to France (best in battalion) with the battalion bus as our transport. We went to Paris sleeping under the Eiffel tower, then on to the Normandy beaches and specifically to the Airborne Museum in St. Mere Eglise as we were all paratroopers. When the people of the Airborne Museum realized what we were I thought they were going to soil their undies. But we didn't stick around to see what was going to develop. Clearly the lady running the museum was getting all excited though. The people with me that time were all from 1st Platoon CoA 12th Engr battalion 8th Inf Div . I have no idea what the head count was, probably near 30 troopers. It was a great time despite our poverty, but we didn't need much. The people of France are very caring about what we did for them.
Yes, I can absolutely see that happening.
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