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M and Ms are celebrities

The M&Ms, Marcel and Mathilde Schmetz of Thimister-Clermont, Belgium, are celebrities both in their native country and the USA.

The couple, which operates the Remember Museum 39-45 at their rural home near Henri-Chapelle American Cemetery, came to San Antonio last summer as guests of the 99th Infantry Association for the annual convention.

More recently they were presented a significant award of merit, "Meriterroires," by the Provence of Liege, Belgium.

Christian and Jeanne deMarcken of Paxton MA, friends of the 99th, sent the Checkerboard copies of Belgium newspapers with several color photos of the M&Ms. They will be on display at the Little Rock convention. The deMarckens also thoughtfully included translations to English.

Presentation of the 2005 Meriterroires was a project of Genius 2002 Society. The award also was sponsored by Council of Liege province.

The award ceremony took place Nov. 16, 2005, in the Province Palace of Liege with more than 200 present, including the entire permanent Deputation of Liege, several provincial counselors, burgomasters, deputy mayors of the different communes, and representatives of social organizations.

The M&Ms were awarded the first prize of a trip to Prague, Austria. There were five contenders for the award.

Remember Museum 39-45 was built by the M&Ms and is a loving tribute to veterans of World War II — especially the 99th Infantry Division. It is accepted by all as one of the best WWII military museums in Europe.

The names of numerous 99th veterans are inscribed on the walls.

The coveted trophy will be on display in their museum. Mathilde told a Belgian newspaper that they were surprised and overwhelmed by the award. She said it is not meritorious to remember their liberators.

She said it is hoped the award will draw more local visitors, "We're better known in the USA than in Belgium, thanks to the veterans."

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