21 Jun D-Day Through the Decades: 2014 Commemoration
As I sit here at our bi-annual Teacher Institute listening to two D-Day veterans, I am reminded of the 70th Anniversary of D-Day just a few short weeks ago. It is hard to believe that it has been almost two weeks since the commemoration. It was a beautiful ceremony with thousands of people in attendance – and most importantly, hundreds of our guests of honor – D-Day veterans.
|Living Historian Encampment|
After months and months of preparations, it was time to see all the planning come to action. The first buses of people arrived on-site around 7:45AM and we were ready! The living historians were set up on the East Lawn, Hospitality Tent and refreshments on the West Lawn, and volunteers everywhere to make sure the public had all the information they needed.
The ceremony began at 11AM with the Golden Knights jumping into action. There were seven members of the Golden Knights team who jumped that morning beginning our 70th Anniversary Commemoration Ceremony. Throughout the course of the next hour and a half, speakers read excerpts from D-Day veterans – using the words of the men who were there to honor the memory of the actions taken 70 years ago. It was haunting and beautiful as each speaker stepped up to the platform to relive a particular memory.
During the ceremony, there were flyovers from a C-47, P-51, and 4 T-6s in a missing man formation. The official ceremony concluded with the dedication of Homage. Our newest tribute to the valor, fidelity, and sacrifice of the servicemen reflects the story of the Bedford Boys of the sacrifices made by Company A, 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division.
|Gathered around Homage|
The reminder of the day was spent listening to the 29th Division Band and James Anthony, a.k.a. Frank Sinatra, on the USO stage. Patrons and veterans were able to rest in some shade in the hospitality tent and in the education tent, which had been set up with exhibits designed by our dedicated interns. That evening, we gathered again on-site to watch Casablanca on a large inflatable screen.
Overall it was a wonderful day and weekend spent commemorating the accomplishments of the service members who fought on the longest day, getting us back into France and ending the war in Europe by May 1945.
Before signing off, I would like to extend my sincerest THANK YOU to all the staff, volunteers, medical personnel, officers, and sponsors who made everything we were able to do that weekend possible!