Press/Journalists

Press Release
June 2, 2014

D-Day+70 Marked at National Archives Facilities In DC And Nationwide

Events, programs and ceremonies commemorate historic anniversary

Washington, DC…To commemorate the 70th Anniversary of D-Day, the National Archives presents a series of programs in at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, and at National Archives Presidential Libraries nationwide. The National Archives Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum, and Boyhood Home in Abilene, KS, will host the largest international commemoration of D-Day’s 70th Anniversary in the U.S., and weekend events include a C-47 military fly-over, Remembrance Ceremony, symphony performance, gala reception, and exhibit openings.

Events at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC

All programs at the National Archives Building in Washington, DC, are free and open to the public. The building is located on the National Mall and is fully accessible.

FEATURED PROGRAM: Film screening of The True Glory
Friday, June 6, at noon, William G. McGowan Theater
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 the June 6, 1944, invasion of Normandy and the Allied push across Europe. (85 minutes.) The National Archives Motion Picture Preservation Lab has created a new digitally restored version of the film for this screening. "The motion picture preservation team is honored to present this restoration of The True Glory, said Criss Kovac, Supervisory Motion Picture Preservation Specialist at the National Archives. “Over 240 hours of time and effort were spent 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."

Also shown will be two short subjects preserved by the Academy Film Archive, City Throngs Cheer Fall of Germany (1945; 3 mins.) and Seeds of Destiny (1946; 20 mins.). 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. Attendees should use the Special Events entrance on Constitution Avenue at 7th Street, NW.

RELATED TALK: Records of the Monuments Men at the National Archives
Tuesday, June 3, at 11 a.m., Room G-25, Research Center (Penn. Ave. Entrance)
Less than two weeks before D-Day, General Dwight D. Eisenhower issued his now famous order to all commanders stating their responsibility to save historical monuments and cultural centers. A small number of Monuments Men moved through France with the advancing armies. Greg Bradsher, a senior archivist, World War II expert, and author of Holocaust-Era Assets: A Finding Aid to Records at the National Archives at College Park, MD, shares the fascinating story of the Monuments Men and their records. (This program will be repeated on Thursday, June 5, at 11 a.m., at the National Archives at College Park, MD, Lecture Room C.)

RELATED FEATURED DOCUMENT DISPLAY: GI Bill of Rights
East Rotunda Gallery, June 6–July 14
Signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on June 22, 1944, the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act, also known as the GI Bill of Rights, provided World War II veterans with funds for college education, unemployment insurance, and housing.

The National Archives holds millions of records related to D-Day.
Additional D-Day records are online.

Events at National Archives Presidential Libraries Nationwide

Eisenhower Presidential Library, Abilene, KS
On Friday, June 6, and Saturday, June 7, the National Archives Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum, and Boyhood Home will host the largest international commemoration of D-Day’s 70th Anniversary in the U.S. These events are open to the press and the public, and will be held at the Library in Abilene, KS. Highlights include a C-47 military fly-over, Remembrance Ceremony, evening symphony performance, gala reception, and exhibit openings.

Press are invited to live broadcast all events, interview top historians, Eisenhower Library staff, and speakers. To coordinate press coverage, contact Samantha Kenner, Communications Director, at Samantha.Kenner@nara.gov or 785-263-6764. Additional information online at www.eisenhower.archives.gov.

Highlights include:

EVENT: 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.

TALK: “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 to escape and emigrate to the United States in 1937. In 1942, at age 18, Guenther, now called Guy, was drafted into the U.S. Army and sent to Camp Ritchie to become a POW interrogator. Two days after D-Day, he arrived in Germany to interrogate German prisoners and later received the Bronze Star for his work. He became a professor of German Language and Literature at Columbia University, and is now the Distinguished Professor for German at Wayne State University in Detroit.

EVENT: 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 during WWII 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 of the Auschwitz concentration camp.
  • World War II Remembered: Leaders, Battles & Heroes - New exhibit supplements feature Operations Overlord (D-Day/France), Bagration (Eastern Europe), Ichi-Go (China), and Forager (Mariana Islands)

TALK: Eisenhower’s “Not So Famous” Last Words when Launching D-Day
Saturday, June 7 at 11:30: a.m., Visitors Center Auditorium
On the evening of June 4, 1944, the Supreme Allied Commander gathered his generals, admirals, field marshals, and air chiefs and listened to his weather officer’s forecast.

Finally, General Dwight D. Eisenhower, having ordered the biggest invasion force in history to a state of readiness, spoke:  “The question is just how long can you keep this operation on the end of a limb and let it hang there.”

The next morning, he arose at 3:30 a.m. and met with his staff again. They all favored launching the invasion of Western Europe the next day, June 6, 1944. Eisenhower paced around the room, pondering what was riding on this decision — the fate of millions.

Then he stopped, looked at his commanders, and gave the go-ahead for the invasion, Operation Overlord, whose aim was to bring down Hitler’s Third Reich.

Tim Rives, deputy director of the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum in Abilene, Kansas, addresses the question “Just What Did Ike Say to Launch the D-Day Invasion?” both in this talk and online (www.archives.gov/publications/prologue/2014/spring/d-day.pdf) in the upcoming issue of Prologue, the flagship publication of the National Archives.

PANEL DISCUSSIONS: Life on the Home Front and Life on the Battlefield
Saturday, June 7, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m., Visitors CenterAuditorium
Hear firsthand how World War II affected those at home and overseas. Women will share “Rosie the Riveter”-type experiences about entering the work force to support the war effort. Veterans will share accounts of landing on Omaha Beach and D-Day abroad. 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.

TALK: 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.

C-47 FLYOVER
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.

CONCERT: 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.

Connect with the Eisenhower Library at @IkeLibrary!
Facebook: www.facebook.com/IkeLibrary
Twitter: www.twitter.com/IkeLibrary
YouTube: www.youtube.com/IkeLibrary
Instagram: www.instagram.com/IkeLibrary

Carter Presidential Library AND MUSEUM, Atlanta, GA

The Carter Library is a Blue Star Museum offering free museum admission to active duty military.

Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum, Grand Rapids, MI

BOOK TALK: The Dead and Those About to Die D-Day: The Big Red One at Omaha Beach
Wednesday, June 4 at 7 p.m.
A white-knuckle account of the 1st Infantry Division’s harrowing D-Day assault on the eastern sector of Omaha Beach—acclaimed historian John C. McManus has written a gripping history that will stand as the last word on this titanic battle. Nicknamed the Big Red One, 1st Division had fought from North Africa to Sicily, earning a reputation as stalwart warriors on the front lines and rabble-rousers in the rear. Yet on D-Day, these jaded combat veterans melded with fresh-faced replacements to accomplish one of the most challenging and deadly missions ever. For reservations email ford_events@nara.gov or call 616-254-0384.

Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum, HYDE PARK, NY

The Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Museum’s new permanent exhibition features D-Day – the culmination of FDR’s Grand Strategy, especially his decision to defeat "Germany First" and his insistence—over Churchill’s opposition—that the invasion go forward in Spring 1944. D-Day is highlighted in the 500 square foot space that recreates FDR’s secret White House Map Room. It was in his original Map Room that FDR monitored reports from the front during the tense early hours of the D-Day invasion. That evening, when he went on national radio to address the nation for the first time about the Normandy invasion, his speech took the form of a prayer, starting with “Almighty God: Our sons, pride of our Nation, this day have set upon a mighty endeavor, a struggle to preserve our Republic, our religion, and our civilization, and to set free a suffering humanity.” The Museum shows FDR’s reading copy for this historic broadcast that includes several handwritten lines in pencil that he added just before he went on the air.

The archives of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library include many important diplomatic and military documents connected to the historic Normandy invasion:

D-Day Prayer Audio Recording
[www.youtube.com/watch?v=a2IRcc-5RgA&list=UURj1hyibBCJ24reSQgwMU1g]

Additional online D-Day resources from the FDR Library [www.fdrlibrary.marist.edu/aboutfdr/d-day.html]

VIRTUAL EXHIBIT: D-Day and the Normandy Invasion on the Google Cultural Institute (D-Day content will be available June 4)

Follow pivotal events from D-Day and the Normandy Invasion in an immersive exhibit created in partnership with the Google Cultural Institute. “D-Day and the Normandy Invasion” explores wartime photos, moving pictures, audio, and documents from the largest amphibious invasion in history. Declassified cables, reports, and maps that were critical in planning Overlord are set against high resolution photos taken by combat photographers during the invasion. The exhibit features over forty multi-media items including:

  • The military conclusion signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, and Joseph Stalin to choreograph a “cover plan to mystify and mislead the enemy…”
  • The patent for the strategically important “Higgins” boat that would transport military equipment to the beaches.
  • The audio recording of General Eisenhower delivering his “Order of the Day” for Allied forces.

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For Press information, contact the National Archives Public Affairs staff at 202-357-5300.

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