D-Day marks not just a “great event in our history” but also a divide that led to the turning point in World War II, the grandson of the conflict’s famed Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower told a crowd at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force.
David Eisenhower, the grandson of the WWII general who went on to become president, spoke to a full theater Thursday at the museum during a ceremony for the Ford Oval of Honor, which recognizes the accomplishments of area veterans.
Four local D-Day veterans were inducted into the Ford Oval of Honor this year, in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Normandy invasion. Army Pfc. Albert L. Carr, Navy Radioman 1st Class Marion Adams, Army Airborne Pfc. James H. “Pee Wee” Martin and Army Pfc. Lawson Adkins
“We accomplished something in 1944 that no other country in the world could even contemplate doing,” Eisenhower said.
Eisenhower wrote a book that was a 1986 Pulitzer Prize finalist in history about his grandfather called “Eisenhower: At War.” His most recent book “Going Home To Glory,” which he wrote with his wife Julie Nixon Eisenhower, is about his grandfather’s life after leaving the presidency, according to the museum.
Eisenhower’s visit is one of several special events the Air Force Museum hosted to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. On the anniversary earlier this month, two World War II aircraft flew over the museum during a wreath laying at the facility’s memorial park.
An exhibit is also open at the museum through the end of the year and is called “D-Day: Freedom From Above.” The exhibit, which costs $5, allows visitors to use touch-screen tablets to explore the invasion of Normandy, France through the eyes of an Army paratrooper.
Eisenhower traveled to Normandy recently in anticipation of the recent anniversary. The biggest takeaway from the D-Day invasion, Eisenhower said, is that “America is going to respond to its duty.”
June 6, 1944, which came to be known as D-Day, was the largest amphibious invasion in history. It is often referred to as the turning point of World War II and is said to have paved the way for the end of the conflict.
Americans had to run great risks on D-Day to succeed, Eisenhower said. Nothing, Eisenhower said, could have prepared his grandfather for what he had to lead and oversee on that day.
“The soldiers of D-Day did not walk alone…They are a demonstration of what people can accomplish,” Eisenhower said. “They will never be forgotten.”
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