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EAA To Mark D-Day’s 60th Anniversary


May 19, 2004 - On June 6, the world commemorates the 60th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Europe at Normandy, France. The EAA AirVenture Museum will mark this historic occasion with a special series of events the weekend of June 4-6 to remember perhaps the crucial turning point in the battle for freedom during World War II. Events and items include an authentic hangar dance and banquet; an L-Bird fly-in; a WWII paratrooper living history group encampment; a special display of a Higgins Boat landing craft and an Mk IX Supermarine Spitfire; and presentations and movie showings throughout the weekend.

The weekend begins with a WWII-style banquet and hangar dance on Friday, June 4, in the Eagle Hangar. The special guest speaker is Milo Flaten, an infantryman from Wisconsin who took part in the first-wave assault on Omaha Beach on June 6, 1944. Milo doesn’t claim to be the first American soldier to set foot on the beach that fateful morning, but says, “I know there was nobody in front of me!“

Milo Flaten - from World War II and today.

The hangar dance among the Eagle Hangar warbirds features the big band sounds of The Neenah Ambassadors. Tickets are $25 per person, which includes dinner. To make a reservation, call 920/426-6880 or e-mail museum@eaa.org. Period dress is not required but certainly welcome.

Other activities:

  • An L-Bird fly-in at Pioneer Airport will allow visitors to see a variety of observation planes that were used to support the Normandy invasion.
  • A WWII paratrooper living history group will set up camp on the museum grounds for the weekend. Visitors will witness an authentic re-enactment of preparations being made for a parachute drop into Normandy on D-Day under the wing of EAA’s C-47.
  • A Higgins Boat, courtesy of the Oshkosh Military Veteran’s Museum, will be on display on the museum grounds. General Dwight D. Eisenhower once said that were it not for the Higgins Boat, “the whole strategy of the war would have been different.“
  • An Mk. IX Supermarine Spitfire that participated in the Normandy invasion will be unveiled and displayed in the Eagle Hangar, along with a supporting exhibit.
  • Along with presentations and movie showings related to the history of D-Day, video oral histories will be shown featuring Wisconsin’s D-Day veterans.
  • Sunday, June 6, at 10:00 a.m. - A patriotic ceremony in the Eagle Hangar will feature area veteran groups and call attention to the sacrifices made by men and women during World War II. The ceremony will be concluded by a P-51 Mustang flyby.
  • All activities are included in regular museum admission and are free for EAA members.

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EAA Aviation Center P.O. Box 3086 Oshkosh, WI 54903-3086
Phone: 920.426.4800