NEW ORLEANS, LA (May 21, 2009) – The National World War II Museum in New Orleans will honor the 65th anniversary of the D-Day invasion at Normandy on June 6, with a weekend of commemorative events that will memorialize and celebrate a pivotal moment in world history. The 65th Anniversary Weekend of Events presented by Peoples Health will include:
Veteran panel discussions
- The American Belles singing patriotic and WWII-era music
- A June 6 ceremony commemorating the 65th anniversary of D-Day Normandy and the 9th anniversary of The National World War II Museum
- The Museum’s Living History Corps joined by reeneactors throughout the Gulf South region
- Historical fun for the entire family, including activities such as Higgins boat-building, Airborne activities, and parachute making
- A military briefing of D-Day and D-Day +1, highlighting the action of both days
- WWII blank fire weapons demonstrations
- Exciting displays of the machines that contributed to an Allied victory, the Sherman tank, halftrack and jeeps
- Information tables by Alliance Francaise and other Museum partners
The highlight of the weekend will be at 2:00 p.m. on June 6, when veterans from across the nation will stand together as a tribute to those who are no longer with us. This commemoration, A Gathering of the Greatest Generation, will also serve as a poignant reminder of how few of these eyewitnesses to history remain.
Opening that same weekend, the special exhibition June 1944 – One Month in the War That Changed the World will cover not only D-Day but a number of other major events that occurred in that same month, including the liberation of Rome, the landings at Saipan, Battle of the Philippine Sea, Operation Bagration, lifting of the Siege of Imphal, Battle of Kohima and, on the Home Front, the signing of the G.I. Bill of Rights. June 1944 – One Month in the War That Changed the World is presented by Veolia Transportation and Environmental Services.
D-Day marked the invasion of Nazi-occupied Europe. The name stands only for “D” as in “day” since the final invasion date was unknown and weather dependent. It began early on the morning of June 6, 1944, when 156,000 servicemen from the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and other Allied countries boarded an armada of more than 5,000 ships and Higgins landing craft that ferried them from English harbors to the beaches of France and into a wall of gunfire from German defenders. The operation cost U.S. Forces 2,499 dead that day alone, with total Allied deaths reaching 4,414. But it marked the beginning of the end of the war in Europe. By June 11, with the beachheads firmly secured, more than 326,000 troops had crossed with more than 100,000 tons of military equipment. Paris was liberated on August 25. Germany surrendered on May 8, 1945.
Peoples Health is proud to sponsor the 65th anniversary weekend of events at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. Established in 1994, Peoples Health administers Medicare benefits for 42,000 southeast Louisiana residents enrolled in the Choices 65, Choices Plus, Secure Health, HealthCare Select and Peoples Health Group Medicare health plans. More than 450 employees work at Peoples Health corporate offices in Metairie, Louisiana and a regional office in Baton Rouge. Peoples Health is accredited by URAC, a Washington, DC-based healthcare accrediting organization. More information about Peoples Health can be obtained by visiting www.peopleshealth.com.
The National World War II Museum tells the story of the American Experience in the war that changed the world – why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today. Dedicated in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum and now designated by Congress as America’s National World War II Museum, it celebrates the American Spirit, the teamwork, optimism, courage and sacrifice of the men and women who fought on the battlefront and the Home Front. For more information, call 877-813-3329 or 504-527-6012 or visit www.nationalww2museum.org. Follow us on Twitter at WWIImuseum or visit our Facebook fan page.