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D-Day's 70th anniversary is honored at National Archives in D.C. and nationwide

D-Day's 70th anniversary June 6 is honored at National Archives in Washington and its Presidential libraries nationwide
D-Day's 70th anniversary June 6 is honored at National Archives in Washington and its Presidential libraries nationwide
Gen. Eisenhower meeting the troops before D-Day invasion. Courtesy of National Archives, Washington, D.C.

D-Day's 70th anniversary June 6 is being celebrated this week at Washington's National Archives, and at the Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum, and Boyhood Home in Abilene, Kansas, with a fly-over by World War Two C-47 planes, a Remembrance Ceremony, symphony, and exhibit openings.

Here are highlights of National Archives' events honoring the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France that marked the beginning of the end of World War Two in Europe:


Monuments Men records at the National Archives

Tuesday, June 3, at 11 A.M., Room G-25, Research Center (use Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. Entrance)

Less than two weeks before D-Day, General Dwight D. Eisenhower issued his now-famous order to all commanders to save historical monuments and cultural centers. A small number of Monuments Men (now of film fame) moved through France with the advancing armies. Greg Bradsher, a senior archivist, World War Two expert, and author of "Holocaust-Era Assets: A Finding Aid to Records at the National Archives", shares the fascinating story of the Monuments Men and their records.

Monuments Men donated the last-known "Hitler Album" of Nazi-looted artworks to the National Archives on May 8, the 69th anniversary of the Allies' victory in Europe, V-E Day. For story, click here. At that ceremony, an actual Monuments Man, Harry Ettlinger, 88, a German-born Jew, told his story better than any film could: click here for story.

Film screening of "The True Glory"

Friday, June 6, at noon, William G. McGowan Theater, (use Special Events entrance on Constitution Avenue at 7th Street, N.W.)

"The True Glory", a joint production of the U.S. Office of War Information and the British Ministry of Information, is the epic filmed record of D-Day invasion and the Allied push across Europe. The National Archives Motion Picture Preservation Lab spent "Over 240 hours...on the digital restoration of this historic film and we are proud to be able to present it in recognition of all those who served from the U.S. and abroad," said Criss Kovac, supervisory motion picture preservation specialist at the National Archives.

Two shorts also will be shown, "City Throngs Cheer Fall of Germany" and "Seeds of Destiny", both preserved by the Academy Film Archive. This program is presented by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in partnership with the Charles Guggenheim Center for Documentary Film and the Foundation for the National Archives. Please note that some images may be disturbing to viewers.

Document display: GI Bill of Rights

June 6–July 14, East Rotunda Gallery

Signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on June 22, 1944, the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, a.k.a the GI Bill of Rights, provided World War Two veterans with funds for college education, unemployment insurance, and housing.



On Friday, June 6, and Saturday, June 7, the National Archives Eisenhower Presidential Library will host the largest U.S. commemoration of D-Day’s 70th anniversary, including a C-47 military fly-over; Remembrance Ceremony; symphony performance; gala reception; exhibit openings; and talks:

Remembrance Ceremony

Friday, June 6 at 9 A.M., Eisenhower Presidential Library Campus

The Remembrance event includes Presentation of the Colors Flag Ceremony, Allied Forces Wreath Laying, and Order of the Day Reenactment.

“Life as a Ritchie Boy” by Dr. Guy Stern

Friday, June 6, at 4 P.M., Visitors Center Auditorium

Guenther Stern was the only member of his family to escape from Nazism and emigrate to the U.S., in 1937. In 1942, at age 18, Guenther (now Guy), was drafted into the U.S. Army and sent to Camp Ritchie, Maryland, to train to become a POW interrogator. Two days after D-Day, he arrived in Germany to interrogate German prisoners. He received the Bronze Star for his work. He became a professor of German Language and Literature at Columbia University, and now is the Distinguished Professor for German at Wayne State University in Detroit.

Exhibits Openings and Gala Reception

Friday, June 6 at 5:30­–9 P.M., Eisenhower Library Courtyard

A special reception including a concert by the Kansas State University Summer Choral Institute marks the opening of three new exhibits:

-- "Be Ye Men of Valour: Allies of World War II" - This exhibit tells the stories of smaller Allied countries and explores the important victories, defeats, and causes associated with these nations and resistance groups.

-- "Forbidden Art" - On loan from the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum of Poland and the Polish Mission of the Orchard Lake Schools in Michigan, this exhibit features photographs of art created by prisoners at Auschwitz.

-- "World War II Remembered: Leaders, Battles & Heroes" - New exhibit items feature Operations Overlord (D-Day/ France), Bagration (Eastern Europe), Ichi-Go (China), and Forager (Mariana Islands)

Eisenhower’s “Not So Famous” Last Words when Launching D-Day

Saturday, June 7 at 11:30 A.M., Visitors Center Auditorium

Timothy Rives, Eisenhower Library Deputy Director, discusses General Eisenhower’s exact words when making the final decision to invade Normandy.

"Life on the Home Front and Life on the Battlefield"

Saturday, June 7, 1:30 – 3:30 P.M., Visitors Center Auditorium

Hear firsthand how World War II affected those at home and overseas. Women will share "Rosie the Riveter"-type experiences about entering the workforce to support the war effort. Veterans will share accounts of landing on Omaha Beach and elsewhere on D-Day. Veterans from the 16th Infantry Regiment, meeting at Fort Riley for a reunion, will be honored guests at the D-Day +70 events, and have been invited to share their experiences.

"D-Day: Seventy Years Ago"

Saturday, June 7, 4 P.M., Visitors Center Auditorium

Nigel Hamilton, award-winning historian and biographer, will discuss this historic anniversary. His book "The Mantle of Command; FDR at War, 1941-1942" (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) was just published mid-May.


Saturday, June 7, at 5 P.M.

The C-47 was vital to the success of many Allied campaigns, in particular those at Guadalcanal and in the jungles of New Guinea and Burma. C-47s airlifted supplies to the embattled U.S. forces during the Battle of Bastogne. In Europe, more than 1,000 C‑47s dropped paratroopers behind enemy lines as part of Operation Overlord.

Symphony at Sunset Annual D-Day Commemorative Concert

Saturday, June 7, 7-10 P.M., Library Campus

The 1st Infantry Division Band and Salina Symphony Orchestra present a special concert featuring patriotic classics and Big Band favorites.

Other commemorative events are being held at:




VIRTUAL EXHIBIT: "D-Day and the Normandy Invasion" on the Google Cultural Institute

"D-Day and the Normandy Invasion" features more than 40 multimedia items including:

-- The military conclusion signed by FDR, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin to choreograph a "cover plan to mystify and mislead the enemy..."

-- Images taken by combat photographers during the invasion.

-- Declassified cables, reports, and maps critical in planning D-Day's Operation Overlord.

-- General Eisenhower's draft, with his handwritten notes, of "Order of the Day" for Allied forces in D-Day invasion.

-- Audio recording of General Eisenhower delivering his "Order of the Day".

-- General Eisenhower's handwritten note (mis-dated July 5 instead of June 5) ending, "If any blame or fault attaches to this attempt, it is mine alone."

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