Remembering the greatest generation with a full week of commemorative events.
Abilene, Kan. - The D-Day 75th Anniversary Commemoration Week at the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum features a range of programs. Events kick off on Saturday, June 1 with the annual Symphony at Sunset concert and culminate on Thursday, June 6 with a Remembrance Ceremony and evening concert.
Historians are scheduled Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday evenings to share different aspects on WWII. Each keynote presentation will open with a reception at 6:30 p.m. and the talk at 7 p.m. in the Visitors Center Auditorium. Best-selling author Dr. Nigel Hamilton discusses the final book in his “FDR at War” trilogy on Monday, June 3. The next evening features Dr. Adrian Lewis presenting his book “Omaha Beach: A Flawed Victory.” Wrapping up the D-Day speaker series, Dr. Dennis Okerstrom talks about the importance of gliders during WWII in his presentation titled “War on Silent Wings.”
A daily film series is also set for June 3-5 in the Visitors Center Auditorium at 2 p.m. First up is Ike: Countdown to D-Day on Monday, followed by The Longest Day on Tuesday, and concluding on Wednesday with D-Day+20: Eisenhower Returns to Normandy with Walter Cronkite.
A panel of local WWII veterans will share their stories on Wednesday, June 5 at 12:30 p.m. in the Visitors Center Auditorium. The panel will be moderated by Dr. Charles W. Sanders, Associate Professor of History at Kansas State University. Sanders retired from the U.S. Army after 25 years of service prior to pursuing his doctoral work.
The VFW will hold a vigil at the Place of Meditation, final resting place of Dwight Eisenhower, on Wednesday, June 5 at 8:30 p.m. The VFW will stand guard until midnight.
The Remembrance Ceremony on June 6 at 9:30 will include more than 60 WWII veterans and “Rosie the Riveters” as special guests. Kansas State University President General Richard Myers, USAF (Ret.) will deliver the keynote address and General Eisenhower's granddaughter, Mary Jean Eisenhower, will also provide remarks.
Concerts bookend the commemorative week. Saturday’s Symphony at Sunset concert on Saturday, June 1 includes three concerts beginning at 5:30 p.m. with the Salina Symphony headlining at 8:30 p.m. On Sunday, June 2 the Abilene City Band performs in the Visitors Center Auditorium at 3 p.m. They are the second oldest municipal band in Kansas. The week caps off with the “Hope & Liberty” concert at 6:30 p.m. presented by the Kansas State University School of Music, Theatre and Dance and 41st Summer Choral Institute. The free concert is led by Emmy and Grammy award winner Bryan Pinkall.
Enjoy the programs and activities provided by the Eisenhower Foundation's IKEducation department scheduled for each day during Commemoration Week! The Hands on History stations encourage visitors to stop by and explore artifacts such as V-Mail or Shoulder Sleeve Insignia. The one-hour IKEducation programs provide a classroom-style experience to delve into topics such as D-Day Deception Plans or Home Front Rationing.
About the Eisenhower Presidential Library
The Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum is one of 15 Presidential Libraries operated by the National Archives and Records Administration. Presidential Libraries promote understanding of the presidency and the American experience. They preserve and provide access to historical materials, support research, and create interactive programs and exhibits that educate and inspire. Public programs and exhibits at the Eisenhower Presidential Library are made possible in part through the generous support of the Eisenhower Foundation. To learn more, visit eisenhowerlibrary.gov.