74th Anniversary of D-Day

The National D-Day Memorial will mark the 74th anniversary of Operation Overlord with a ceremony on Wednesday, June 6 at 11 a.m. This year’s commemoration features Pat Waters, the grandson of General George S. Patton and Desmond Doss Jr.

George Patton “Pat” Waters was born in New York City on January 18, 1941 to General John K. Waters and Beatrice Patton Waters, the first-born daughter of General and Mrs. George S. Patton Jr. He graduated from Pfeiffer College in NC in 1965, and enlisted in the U.S. Navy Reserve that same year, attending Officer Candidate’s School. He served aboard the destroyer USS Braine as Combat Information Officer for a 3-year tour of the Western Pacific, and as an instructor in Anti-Submarine Warfare at Glynco (GA) Naval Air Station. Following his naval service he worked as an executive in a Coca-Cola bottling plant in Louisiana before starting Waters Investments, LLC.  He has served as a board member of the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, Charleston County Aviation Authority, Patriots’ Point Development Authority, the USS Yorktown Foundation, and the Mount Pleasant Planning Commission. But his passion has been “traveling around the country saying thank you to those who remain, supporting the legacy of the American service personnel, and recognizing the commitment and courage of their families.”

Also joining us for the ceremony is Desmond Doss Jr., the only son of Medal of Honor recipient Desmond Doss.  Desmond Doss, a Lynchburg, VA native who refused to carry a weapon because of his beliefs as a Seventh-day Adventist, served as a medic in World War II. The conscientious objector saved as many as 75 men during the battle of Okinawa, carrying or dragging them one-by-one to safety.  President Harry S. Truman presented Doss with the Medal of Honor in the White House rose garden on October 12, 1945.  Academy-award winning film Hacksaw Ridge, released November 2016, introduced Doss’s heroic story to millions.

Following the address, Normandy veteran Ash Rothlein will preside over the annual remembrance at the Memorial’s “Homage” sculpture. The observance reminds up of the heroes of June 6, 1944 who did not return home to receive our thanks. Representatives of the nation of France, a people always ready to honor those who liberated them from brutal Nazi occupation, will join us for the tribute. Rothlein will hang his own Legion of Honor Medal, presented to him by the French government, on the statue.

The 74th anniversary commemoration will also feature music by the 29th Division Band, wreath-layings, recognition of D-Day and WWII veterans, and a veterans reunion tent.

D-Day and WWII veterans are asked to contact the Memorial office at (540) 586-DDAY for special seating. Preferential parking is also offered to older and disabled veterans.

The Memorial is offering free admission to all guests all day on June 6. Guests are asked to bring their own chairs. No coolers or pets. For more information, call (540) 586-DDAY.