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1,000 years of marital experience in one room as senior couples renew vows

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LAKE MARY, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -

The ceremony at the Oakmonte Village assisted living center in Lake Mary begins sort of like a classic game show.

"Dan and Rosemary, come on down!" commands Director of Administration Amanda Nykamp. 

But what Nykamp means is for the couple to walk down the rose-petaled white carpet liner to the front of the packed room, where they will renew their vows and kiss one another.

Rosemary and Dan Curtin have been married since July 1, 1950.  Three sons, one daughter, nine grandchildren, and three great-grandkids later, they are celebrating 63 years of marital bliss.

"Dan, you may kiss the bride," says Nykamp. 

And it's hard to not smile when the two do.  The crowd applauds, Dan gives everyone a big smile and two thumbs up, and Rosemary just looks happy.

All afternoon long, we witnessed smooch after smooch.  Seventeen couples renewed their marriage vows this Valentine's Day and it turned out the men in this crowd were possibly even more sentimental than their wives.

Frank Belle has been married to his wife Anne for 70 years.  They are the longest wed couple in the group.   With tears in his eyes and a catch in his throat, Frank says, "I knew what I wanted.  You fall in love with a beautiful girl, and it's been wonderful, as long as I have Anne.  The dear Lord put us together, and it's been a wonderful life."

A wonderful life that began when they were just teenagers, when they first met at a New Year's Eve dance.

Anne says, "I think I fell in love immediately.  I went home and told my mother I met the man I'm going to marry, and she said, 'No you're not, you're going to school!'" But Anne explains with a glint in her eye, "That was the end of the that, because Feb. 12, 1944, he was coming home from California to go to Florida, and he had a delay en route, and I said, 'Let's get married!'"

And they did on that day.  Seventy years later, with all these other couples, they say "I do" again.

After a group champagne toast, Anne says, "This is such a wonderful ceremony.  My heart just swelled, and I was almost ready to cry, like I am now, so I  think we better go."  

Hey, after 70 years, you don't have to apologize for being sentimental.  In fact, that's what Valentine's Day is all about.

 

 

 

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