Five WWII Memorials to Visit This D-Day
Did you know that the Higgins boats, which were used in the amphibious landings on European shores, were designed, built and tested in New Orleans? New Orleans is also the location of a fantastic WWII museum. Image Courtesy of The National WWII Museum.
In military parlance, “D-Day” is a generic term for the day on which an operation or attack is to be carried out. For many, however, “D-Day” has become synonymous with its most famous example: the Allied invasion of German-occupied Europe and the beginning of the liberation of Europe from Nazi occupation.
On Tuesday, June 6, 1944, in the culmination of a massive effort of intelligence-gathering, misdirection, and precision planning, Allied forces landed in Normandy to commence “Operation Overlord,” one of the most memorable and daring operations in American history.
Every year, thousands of Americans visit memorials and monuments across the United States to commemorate D-Day and remember the men and women who served in one of WWII’s most famous engagements. Here are a few of the most famous places you could visit this D-Day.
National D-Day Memorial, (Bedford, Virginia)
This memorial stands “in Tribute to the valor, fidelity and sacrifice of Allied Forces on D-Day, June 6, 1944” and pays tribute not only to American armed forces, but those who fought all over the world. The memorial covers fifty acres of land overlooking Bedford, and draws tens of thousands of tourists each year. The site was chosen because of the “Bedford Boys,” thirty-four Virginia National Guardsmen who were selected to be part of the D-Day invasion. If you want to visit Bedford and the National D-Day memorial by charter bus, it’s only three hours from Raleigh, North Carolina, or four hours from Washington, DC.
National WWII Memorial (Washington, DC)
A series of fifty-six pillars surrounding a fountain and plaza, the National WWII memorial is located in the National Mall and is a site of national significance. Each pillar is engraved with the name of one U.S. state. On the west side of the memorial is the “Freedom Wall,” a display consisting of 4,048 gold stars, each of which represents one hundred Americans who died in service during WWII.
National WWII Museum (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Formerly known as the D-Day Museum, the National WWII Museum in New Orleans is the official American WWII museum, designated so by Congress in 2003. Inside the “Freedom Pavilion,” visitors can see American period aircraft on display, such as the Douglas C-47 Skytrain, a B-17E Flying Fortress, a Supermarine Spitfire, a P51 Mustang, and more. There are also a series of exhibits detailing the American experience of the war both at home and abroad. The museum is considered the number one attraction in New Orleans, and features a 4D cinematic experience, Beyond All Boundaries, a CG-enhanced film featuring readings from historic figures and first-person accounts, read by Tom Hanks and many other celebrities. New Orleans may seem like an unusual location for a WWII museum, but there’s a good reason for it: the Higgins boats, which were used in the amphibious landings on European shores, were designed, built and tested in New Orleans. Without these vehicles built by Higgins Industries, there may have been no Operation Overlord at all.
The Museum of Flight (Seattle, WA)
Located in Boeing Field just south of Seattle, the Museum of Flight has a number of aircraft on display — but the J. Elroy McCaw Personal Courage Wing in particular may be of interest to fans of WWII history. Two stories high and 88,000 square feet large, this extensive exhibit features interactive elements, galleries, and twenty-eight WWI and WWII fighter planes, making it one of the largest such collections in the world. Planes on display include the P-38 Lightning, FG-1D Corsair, P-47 Thunderbolt, and more.
Liberation Holocaust Memorial (New Jersey)
This fifteen-foot monument sculpture in Liberty State Park depicts an American soldier carrying a Holocaust survivor out of a Nazi concentration camp. The memorial was dedicated in 1985, with the intent of not only showing hope in the face of atrocity, but affirming America’s place in the world as a preserver of democracy. A visit to this memorial could be a part of any trip to (or from) New York City: it’s less than an hour by charter bus from Midtown Manhattan to Ocean Township where the museum resides.
This D-Day is a time for Americans to honor and remember those Americans who fought in one of the most historic military operations of all time. If you would like to organize a trip for family, friends, or your company to visit one of these WWII memorials, call us at 1-866-556-3545 or contact us today for a free quote.