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Sat, May 22, 2004

EAA AirVenture Museum To Commemorate D-Day June 4-6

Hangar dance, Spitfire exhibit, D-Day veteran presentation among weekend's events

The Experimental Aircraft Association will salute and remember the 60th anniversary of D-Day, one of the major events of the 20th Century, during special activities at the EAA AirVenture Museum in Oshkosh on June 4-6.

Among the highlights of the weekend will be a banquet and World War II hangar dance on Friday, June 4; new displays of a British Spitfire fighter aircraft and a Higgins Boat naval landing craft; and a patriotic ceremony on Sunday morning, June 6, the exact 60th anniversary of the massive Allied landing and invasion of the European continent.

"June 6, 1944, was truly a day that turned the history of World War II and, therefore, the world," said Adam Smith, EAA AirVenture Museum Director. 

"EAA is proud to recognize those who made the sacrifices to preserve freedom on that day and throughout that conflict.  We are also very pleased to showcase a number of special activities and new exhibit items during this weekend.  EAA has planned this weekend to be a remembrance, a celebration and an education regarding this unforgettable era."

The weekend begins on Friday, June 4, with a banquet and World War II hangar dance at the museum.  Special guest and speaker for the evening is Milo Flaten, a Wisconsin-born infantryman who was among the very first to land on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944.  Following the banquet, the dance will feature big-band music from the Neenah Ambassadors.  Tickets for the June 4 event are $25 per person and can be obtained by calling 920-426-6880 or e-mailing museum@eaa.org.

On Sunday, June 6, at 10 a.m., a patriotic ceremony in the Eagle Hangar will feature area veterans groups and recognize the sacrifices made during World War II.  The ceremony will feature fly-bys by the P-51 Mustang aircraft.  It is included with regular museum admission and free for EAA members.

During the June 5-6 weekend, a number of special displays and activities will also be included with regular museum admission, including:

  • An L-Bird fly-in at the museum's Pioneer Airport that allows visitors to see the observation aircraft used during the Normandy invasion
  • A Mk. IX Supermarine "Spitfire" that actually participated in the D-Day invasion, which will be unveiled for display in the Eagle Hangar
  • A Higgins Boat landing craft, on loan from the Military Veteran's Museum of Oshkosh, that was used for the Normandy landing.  Gen. Dwight Eisenhower once said that if not for those landing craft, "...the whole strategy of the war would have been different."
  • Video presentations on D-Day history, including oral histories from Wisconsin D-Day veterans
  • The 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion, a World War II living-history paratrooper group that will set up camp on the museum grounds for the weekend.  They will present authentic re-enactments of preparations for a parachute drop as conducted during the D-Day invasion, under the wing of EAA's C-47 transport aircraft.

The EAA AirVenture Museum is located just off Highway 41 at the Highway 44 exit in Oshkosh.  The Museum is open Monday through Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  EAA members receive free museum admission year-round and family memberships are available.

FMI: EAA AirVenture Museum (920) 426-6108, www.airventuremuseum.org.

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