The Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene is honoring the 70th anniversary of D-Day with World War II exhibits and commemorations this weekend.
Today marks the anniversary of the Allied Forces’ invasion of then German-occupied Normandy, France in 1944. The invasion, dubbed “Operation Overlord,” was a bloody battle that began on the beaches of Normandy. An estimated 12,000 Allied soldiers lost their lives in the battle. American casualties account for over half of that total.
Former President and Kansas native Dwight D. Eisenhower was the commanding general and supreme allied commander of the Allied Forces at the time — and was heavily involved in the planning and execution of Operation Overlord, which proved to be a success and many argue a tipping point in the war.
The library is featuring exhibits that tell the stories of D-Day and various speakers, along with photographs of art created by concentration camp prisoners.
On Saturday, the third annual Symphony at Sunset D-Day Commemoration Concert will begin at 7 p.m. on the grounds of the library. The 1st Infantry Division Band from Fort Riley will perform the opening act, followed at 8:30 p.m. with the headline performance by the Salina Symphony. Kansas City-based jazz vocalist Eboni Fondren is joining the symphony as a guest artist to perform a number of patriotic and big band favorites.
Before the concert, a C-47 — the same plane that dropped paratroopers during D-Day - will fly over the library at approximately 5 p.m.