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The 75th Anniversary of D-Day

Commemorative events at the Museum will feature WWII veterans, exhibit tours, film screenings, and more.

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The 75th Anniversary of D-Day

The National WWII Museum pauses each June 6 to remember the boys of Pointe du Hoc, Easy Company, the 82nd Airborne Division, the 29th Infantry Division, and all those who landed on the beaches of Normandy, as well as the men and women of Higgins Industries in New Orleans and other WWII Home Front workers. They and so many others were all at the tip of freedom’s spear on June 6, 1944.

Overview

The D-Day invasion of Normandy, France, is at the heart of the Museum’s founding, starting with the oral history accounts of D-Day veterans gathered by the late historian Stephen E. Ambrose, PhD, for his best-selling WWII books Band of Brothers, D-Day, Citizen Soldiers, and others. A vision for a place to house those accounts and display WWII artifacts Ambrose had collected sparked a decade-long quest by the historian and his University of New Orleans colleague Gordon H.“Nick” Mueller, PhD. The result was The National D-Day Museum. Thousands of WWII veterans and spectators paraded in the streets on its grand opening on June 6, 2000. 

In the nearly two decades since that great day, The National D-Day Museum has become The National WWII Museum, expanding its historical scope to the full American WWII experience, and its campus to encompass five soaring pavilions on a six-acre footprint with further expansion underway. Sadly, the ranks of WWII veterans have diminished as the Museum has grown. The reality of the WWII generation’s march into history fuels the Museum’s goals: to finish its campus while there are still WWII veterans to visit it, and to propel our WWII collections and educational expertise to the world’s history enthusiasts, students, educators, and scholars.  

The Museum’s extensive plan to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day includes:

  • The recent release of a new book about D-Day (featuring excerpts of more than three dozen Museum oral histories from American servicemembers, including Leonard Lomell, who was among the first to scale the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc with the 2nd Ranger Battalion, and Richard Winters, who dropped into the invasion zone with Easy Company)
  • A special exhibit that opened in March dedicated to the life and work of French Commando and fine-art painter Guy de Montlaur (portrayed in The Longest Day, a screening of which will cap the Museum’s on-site D-Day commemoration activities)
  • A new documentary film about the battle for the bridge at La Fière (featuring John Marr, who fought there with the 82nd Airborne)
  • A partnership with Turner Classic Movies on a prime time series dedicated to WWII films; featuring Museum historians and filmed on our campus, the series will air throughout May and June
  • A national Electronic Field Trip for students to take a live interactive journey into the Normandy invasion (which begins its transatlantic adventure at the Higgins Industries LCVP landing craft in the Museum’s Louisiana Memorial Pavilion)
  • An online continuing education course dedicated to D-Day, offered in partnership with Arizona State University
  • The opening of a new permanent exhibit celebrating Higgins Industries and its charismatic leader, Andrew Jackson Higgins, who created the Landing Craft Vehicle Personnel (LCVP) that was essential to the success of the Normandy invasion on D-Day as well as all other major amphibious landings of the war
  • An Educational Travel program of nearly 1,000 guests in Normandy
  • And an extended schedule of events in New Orleans (capped by the Dr. Hal Baumgarten D-Day Commemoration Ceremony, named for a longtime Museum friend who fought ashore at Omaha Beach on D-Day with the 29th Infantry Division)

Commemoration Events at the Museum

Unless noted, events are free and open to the public. The schedule of events is subject to change. For more information, email DDay75@nationalww2museum.org.

Monday, June 3

The D-Day Invasion of Normandy Exhibit Guided Tours
9:45 a.m. & 2:00 p.m.
The D-Day Invasion of Normandy Exhibit

The National D-Day Museum’s original exhibit, located on the third level of Louisiana Memorial Pavilion, details the comprehensive preparations that preceded the June 6, 1944, invasion and the challenges the Allies faced on the Normandy beaches and beyond. Docent-lead tours will take place throughout the day.

Tuesday, June 4

The D-Day Invasion of Normandy Exhibit Guided Tours
9:45 a.m. & 2:00 p.m.
The D-Day Invasion of Normandy Exhibit 

The National D-Day Museum’s original exhibit, located on the third level of Louisiana Memorial Pavilion, details the comprehensive preparations that preceded the June 6, 1944, invasion and the challenges the Allies faced on the Normandy beaches and beyond. Docent-lead tours will take place throughout the day.

Sneak Peek Screening of Sunken Roads: Three Generations After D-Day

5:00 p.m. Happy Hour |
6:00 p.m. Screening | 7:00 p.m. Filmmaker Q&A

Solomon Victory Theater

The documentary Sunken Roads: Three Generations After D-Day, by filmmaker Charlotte Juergens, follows a group of WWII veterans returning to Normandy for the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings. The men were members of the 29th Infantry Division and served with Juergens’s late great-grandfather, Sergeant Parker Davie Hanna Jr. A personal “exploration of memory, trauma, and the human impulse to commemorate,” according to the film’s website, Sunken Roads aims to examine “the meaning of D-Day as both a historic event and a personal nightmare, and to contemplate its significance 75 years later.” Juergens will attend the screening and participate in a Q&A at its conclusion.

Wednesday, June 5

The D-Day Invasion of Normandy Exhibit Guided Tours
9:45 a.m. & 2:00 p.m.
The D-Day Invasion of Normandy Exhibit

The National D-Day Museum’s original exhibit, located on the third level of Louisiana Memorial Pavilion, details the comprehensive preparations that preceded the June 6, 1944, invasion and the challenges the Allies faced on the Normandy beaches and beyond. Docent-lead tours will take place throughout the day.

World Premiere of Seize & Secure: The Battle for La Fière

6:00 p.m. Reception | 7:00 p.m. Screening | 8:00 p.m. Panel Presentation

Solomon Victory Theater
(By invitation only)

The mortal ferocity of the four-day battle for control of the small stone bridge over the Merderet River at La Fière in Normandy is testament to the bridge’s strategic importance in the D-Day invasion of June 1944. Without control of the bridge and its vital causeway, American forces coming from Utah Beach would not have been able to force their way inland.

Produced by The National WWII Museum and Louisiana Public Broadcasting, the new documentary Seize & Secure: The Battle for La Fière draws on historic and contemporary images and footage of the battle scene, as well as eyewitness accounts by WWII veterans who fought there. Mark Harmon (NCIS, The West Wing, Chicago Hope) serves as narrator. A filmmaker Q&A will follow the screening.

Thursday, June 6

H-Hour Ceremony
6:30 a.m. – 7:15 a.m.
US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center

Join us for a ceremony to commemorate D-Day at the time the invasion began in 1944. This presentation will include a reading of General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s Order of the Day message to troops, delivered on the eve of the invasion; and a D-Day overview by Keith Huxen, Senior Director of Research and History for the Museum’s Institute for the Study of War and Democracy. The presentation will be followed by a moment of silence, a prayer, and the screening of a video montage.

H-Hour Ceremony Continental Breakfast

7:15 a.m. – 7:45 a.m.

BB’s Stage Door Canteen

Complimentary refreshments for H-Hour Ceremony participants.

Film Screenings: Beyond All Boundaries
8:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m.
Solomon Victory Theater

To accommodate early-morning Museum visitors, the Museum’s 4D experience Beyond All Boundaries will have two additional screenings on June 6. (Tickets are $7 with Museum Campus Pass.)

Lecture: Kevin Farrell presents “The Meaning of La Fière 75 Years Later
8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m.
US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center

Colonel Kevin W. Farrell, PhD, spent over 30 years in uniform and commanded at the platoon, company, and battalion levels. A graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point—and former tenured professor and chief of military history at the institution—Colonel Farrell is a recognized authority on military history and leadership.

US Marine Corps Forces Reserve Band Performance
10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m.
US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center

Join us for a concert of patriotic anthems.

Meet the Author: Linda Hervieux
10:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.
Louisiana Memorial Pavilion

Author Linda Hervieux will speak about her book Forgotten: The Untold Story of D-Day’s Black Heroes, at Home and at War. A book signing in the Museum Store will immediately follow the presentation.

Dr. Hal Baumgarten D-Day Commemoration Ceremony
10:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center

Presented in memory of D-Day veteran and Museum friend Dr. Harold “Hal” Baumgarten, this commemoration ceremony will mark the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion with a solemn remembrance of the events of June 6, 1944, and conclude with a moment of silence. 

The Dr. Hal Baumgarten D-Day Commemoration Endowment, made possible by the generous gift of Karen and Leopold Sher, ensures that Dr. Baumgarten’s legacy will live on in perpetuity and helps the Museum fulfill its mission to educate future generations about the events of World War II and its lasting impact.

Light of Remembrance Ceremony 

As we approached the 75th anniversary of D-Day and began planning our annual Dr. Hal Baumgarten D-Day Commemoration Ceremony, a special ceremony to show our respect and recognition for all those who risked their lives for our freedom on June 6, 1944, we wrote to over 176,000 of our Members asking them to join us in paying tribute to that legacy.

We sent our Members a small piece of wax, which represented the spark of hope that the soldiers brought to those five beaches as they stepped on land, growing into a powerful flame of freedom for all of Western Europe. We asked our donors and Members to return that small piece, which in turn was combined with all the other pieces and was melted to form one large threefoot candle representing the Light of Remembrance, a tribute to those who risked everything to fight tyranny on that day. The candle will be displayed and lit during the Dr. Hal Baumgarten D-Day Commemoration Ceremony.

Museum Birthday Celebration
11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center

Join us for patriotic-themed cupcakes in celebration of the Museum’s 19th birthday.

Heroes Welcome for WWII Veterans
11:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.
US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center and BB’s Stage Door Canteen

Museum staff, volunteers, and guests will welcome the arrival of WWII veterans attending the day’s commemoration ceremonies.

The 75th Anniversary of D-Day Electronic Field Trip
11:30 a.m. (repeats at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.)
Louisiana Memorial Pavilion

Join us for a replay of the Museum’s The 75th Anniversary of D-Day Electronic Field Trip. This virtual transatlantic adventure transports students to the sites where D-Day history was made. Guided by student reporters from the United States, England, Canada, and France, this journey provides insights into the greatest amphibious invasion in history. Students discover the lessons and legacies of Operation Overlord as they explore the coast of southern England, the iconic invasion sites in Normandy, France, and a special remembrance at the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial at Omaha Beach.

Panel Discussion: D-Day Veterans
1:30 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center

D-Day veterans discuss their memories of June 6, 1944, in conversation with Museum oral historians.

The Victory Belles
2:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m.
Louisiana Memorial Pavilion

The Museum’s vocal trio performs a concert of patriotic songs.

Gallery Talk: Larry Decuers presents “Guy de Montlaur’s D-Day”
2:30 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.
The Joe W. and Dorothy D. Brown Foundation Special Exhibit Gallery

Larry Decuers, Curator of the special exhibit In Memory of What I Cannot Say: The Art of Guy de Montlaur, will speak about the D-Day actions of French Commando and fine-art painter Guy de Montlaur. Montlaur, who suffered multiple wounds in combat that he carried for the rest of his life, channeled his wartime experiences into art, creating vivid abstract paintings until his death at age 58 in 1977. The special exhibit is on view through October 20, 2019.

Panel Discussion: Depictions of D-Day
3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center

A panel of WWII veteran family members and scholars will discuss the many experiences of those who fought on D-Day, and how memories of that day affected them in later life.

The Victory Swing Orchestra
6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
BB’s Stage Door Canteen

The Museum’s big band will perform a concert of WWII-era favorites. This concert is free and open to the public but please register to attend.

Film Screening: The Longest Day
7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center

Join us for a free screening of the 1962 film The Longest Day, which explores the D-Day landings at Normandy on June 6, 1944. Georges Rivière portrays Guy de Montlaur—the subject of the Museum’s current special exhibit—in this Hollywood epic, based on Cornelius Ryan’s book of the same title. The screening will cap the Museum’s 75th anniversary of D-Day commemorative events. This screening is free and open to the public but please register to attend.

All-Day Activities 

Living History Corps
Founders Plaza

WWII reenactors will interact with Museum visitors throughout the day.

Hands-on History
Louisiana Memorial Pavilion

Explore the uniforms and equipment used by American, British, and German soldiers on D-Day. Visitors can try on original and reproduction helmets, uniforms, boots, packs, and other personal equipment.

Higgins Boat Tours
Louisiana Memorial Pavilion

Board the Higgins Boat with USS Alabama living history reenactors to learn about the New Orleans-built craft’s role in the D-Day invasion.

“What Does D-Day Mean to You?”
L.W. “Pete” Kent Train Car Experience

Record and share your thoughts about the 75th anniversary of D-Day—the bravery of the troops, the awesome challenges they faced, and the legacy of that day all these years later. Select comments will be shared with the Museum’s online followers.

Oral History Showcase
Louisiana Memorial Pavilion

Museum oral histories of D-Day veterans will air continuously throughout the day.

Friday, June 7

Film Screening:  Seize & Secure: The Battle for La Fière
5:00 p.m. Happy Hour at The American Sector Restaurant & Bar | 6:30 p.m. Screening
Solomon Victory Theater

The mortal ferocity of the four-day battle for control of the small stone bridge over the Merderet River at La Fière in Normandy is testament to the bridge’s strategic importance in the D-Day invasion of June 1944. Without control of the bridge and its vital causeway, American forces coming from Utah Beach would not have been able to force their way inland.

Produced by The National WWII Museum and Louisiana Public Broadcasting, the new documentary Seize & Secure: The Battle for La Fière draws on historic and contemporary images and footage of the battle scene, as well as eyewitness accounts by WWII veterans who fought there. Mark Harmon (NCIS, The West Wing, Chicago Hope) serves as narrator.

This screening is free and open to the public but please register to attend.

All-Day Activities 

The D-Day Invasion of Normandy Exhibit Guided Tours
The D-Day Invasion of Normandy Exhibit

The National D-Day Museum’s original exhibit, located on the third level of Louisiana Memorial Pavilion, details the comprehensive preparations that preceded the June 6, 1944, invasion and the challenges the Allies faced on the Normandy beaches and beyond. Docent-lead tours will take place throughout the day.

Living History Corps
Founders Plaza

WWII reenactors will interact with Museum visitors throughout the day. 

Hands-on History
Louisiana Memorial Pavilion

Explore the uniforms and equipment used by American, British, and German soldiers on D-Day. Visitors can try on original and reproduction helmets, uniforms, boots, packs, and other personal equipment.

Higgins Boat Tours
Louisiana Memorial Pavilion and John E. Kushner Restoration Pavilion

Board the Higgins Boat with USS Alabama living history reenactors to learn about the New Orleans-built craft’s role in the D-Day invasion.

“What Does D-Day Mean to You?”
L.W. “Pete” Kent Train Car Experience

Record and share your thoughts about the 75th anniversary of D-Day—the bravery of the troops, the awesome challenges they faced, and the legacy of that day all these years later. Select comments will be shared with the Museum’s online followers.

Saturday, June 8

Knit Your Bit Knit-In

12:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.

US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center

Bring your knitting needles and celebrate World Wide Knit in Public Day with a knit-in at the Museum! Free scarves will be distributed to active-duty servicemembers and veterans, while supplies last.

All-Day Activities

The D-Day Invasion of Normandy Exhibit Guided Tours
The D-Day Invasion of Normandy Exhibit

The National D-Day Museum’s original exhibit, located on the third level of Louisiana Memorial Pavilion, details the comprehensive preparations that preceded the June 6, 1944, invasion and the challenges the Allies faced on the Normandy beaches and beyond. Docent-lead tours will take place throughout the day.

Living History Corps
Founders Plaza

WWII reenactors will interact with Museum visitors throughout the day.

Hands-on History
Louisiana Memorial Pavilion

Explore the uniforms and equipment used by American, British, and German soldiers on D-Day. Visitors can try on original and reproduction helmets, uniforms, boots, packs, and other personal equipment.

Higgins Boat Tours
Louisiana Memorial Pavilion

Board the Higgins Boat with USS Alabama living history reenactors to learn about the New Orleans-built craft’s role in the D-Day invasion.

“What Does D-Day Mean to You?”
L.W. “Pete” Kent Train Car Experience

Record and share your thoughts about the 75th anniversary of D-Day—the bravery of the troops, the awesome challenges they faced, and the legacy of that day all these years later. Select comments will be shared with the Museum’s online followers.

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Calling All WWII Veterans!

We invite all WWII veterans and their family members to join us for 75th Anniversary of D-Day commemoration ceremonies. RSVP here!

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Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to purchase tickets to the Museum to attend the 75th anniversary of D-Day commemorative events?

Commemorative events are free and open to the public. However, if you would like to tour our exhibits during your visit, you will need to purchase a Museum Campus Pass. The 4D interactive experience Beyond All Boundaries and Final Mission: USS Tang Submarine Experience require additional tickets.  Museum Campus Passes and tickets for those attractions can be purchased online in advance or on-site.

I need to purchase tickets in advance. Where can I do so?

Tickets can be purchased in advance here.

I’m traveling with a WWII veteran and am interested in learning more about your oral history program.

Click here for more information about our oral history program.

I’m a member of the media and would like to film during the 75th anniversary of D-Day commemorative events. Who do I contact?

Click here for media resources and contact information.

What is the schedule for the 75th anniversary of D-Day commemorative programming?
What other things are happening at the Museum during the week of the commemoration?
I’d like to visit the Museum over multiple dates. Are there suggested itineraries for longer visits?

For more information about visiting the Museum, visit this page on our website, which contains several suggested itineraries.

I am unable to attend the June 6 events. Can I watch them online?

Yes, the panels and ceremonies planned for June 6 will stream live for no charge and be archived at Livestream.com/nww2m as well as on the Museum’s Facebook page (@WWIIMuseum).

I will need a wheelchair. Does the Museum provide those?

The Museum provides push wheelchairs at no charge on a first-come, first-served basis. We are expecting a large number of visitors during the week of the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Please plan accordingly.

Supporting Sponsors

Yuengling


Louisiana Fire Extinguishers Inc.


Navy Federal Credit Union


Dominos by RPM Pizza

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