79 years later, Louisiana Maneuvers Museum remembers D-Day
PINEVILLE, La. (KALB) - 79 years ago, Allied forces initiated an invasion of five Nazi-controlled beaches in Normandy, France in an epic battle, known as D-Day.
The victory on that day led to the liberation of France from the Nazis, and eventually the rest of Europe. Many of the Americans that fought on that day were trained in Central Louisiana.
During World War II, four camps - Livingston, Claiborne, Polk and Beauregard - were the training grounds of hundreds of thousands of American soldiers that would eventually go and fight in all theatres. Known as the Louisiana Maneuvers, that training played a key role in the American’s effectiveness on the battlefield.
On D-Day, 73,000 Americans and 160 thousand Allied soldiers invaded the beaches of Normandy and fought for freedom in what would become a turning point in the war. Over 10,000 Allied soldiers were either killed, wounded or missing in action, with over 6,500 of them being Americans.
Richard Moran, curator and command group historian from the Louisiana Maneuvers Museum at Camp Beauregard in Pineville, said Louisiana’s contribution to the victory in World War II, and especially D-Day, cannot be understated.
“It was a hard thing to do and yet we suffered a tremendous amount of casualties, so we always want to remember,” Moran said. “France every year celebrates this, as well as Belgium and Netherlands because they knew without the Americans and the rest of the Allied forces, they would have been in occupation a lot longer than they did.”
After the war, France dedicated a piece of land to America known as the Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial. The cemetery overlooks Omaha Beach, the beach Americans fought for on D-Day, and 9,338 Americans who gave their lives in Europe during the war.
So, we thank and remember those who fought on that day.
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