Veterans head to D.C. for D-Day anniversary

WASHINGTON — Friday will mark the 70th anniversary of D-Day, when Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy during World War II.

Fourteen D-Day veterans will be among the World War II veterans marking the anniversary of the historic day at the National World War II Memorial on the National Mall, and others will arrive during the weekend.

“We’re going to be having D-Day veterans attending a memorial service along with representatives from all the Allied nations,” says Holly Rotondi, executive director of the memorial.

“Each country representative will lay a wreath alongside a D-Day veteran,” Rotondi says.

The D-Day veterans are being ferried to Washington by the non-profit group Honor Flight, which for the past several years has been bringing World War II veterans to Washington to see the memorial built to honor their service.

Honor Flight is taking another group of D-Day veterans to a Friday ceremony at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia. Those vets will come to Washington on Saturday, visiting the World War II Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery.

Friday’s ceremony at the World War II Memorial will include both an Eisenhower and a Roosevelt.

“Susan Eisenhower, the granddaughter of General Eisenhower (Supreme Commander of Allied forces in Europe, World War II and later President), will represent her family and will read her grandfather’s message to the troops,” Rotondi says.

She added, “Toby Roosevelt, the great-grandson of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt … will be reading FDR’s D-Day prayer.”

All day long on Friday, living-history National Park Service Rangers wearing World War II uniforms will be at the Memorial to tell visitors the story of D-Day.

Other D-Day events in the area include a screening on Wednesday of the movie “Saving Private Ryan” at the Old Town Theater in Alexandria.

Thursday evening at 7 p.m., Senior Historian to the Secretary of Defense Tom Christianson will provide a free lecture on D-Day at Alexandria’s Lyceum.

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