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D-Day, June 6, 1944: The Memory Lives On

May 18, 2024 – January 19, 2025

Normandy, France will forever be marked by the June 6, 1944, D-Day Landings and the Battle of Normandy that led to the liberation of France and Europe.  2024 will mark the 80th Anniversary of this historic event. The Upcountry History Museum, in its commitment to collecting, preserving, and disseminating the Upstate’s local history and to connecting it to national and international history, will honor this momentous occasion with a special exhibition.

June 6, 1944: More than 156,000 Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy, France, as part of the largest seaborne invasion in history.  Known as “D-Day,” the name and date loom large in the memory of WWII.  D-Day put the Allies on a decisive path toward victory.  Beginning with the Normandy beaches, they pushed back the Axis forces until Germany was forced to surrender less than a year later.  Their achievements were not accomplished without tremendous sacrifice, as the Normandy invasion resulted in over 6,000 American casualties.

The Upcountry History Museum, in partnership with the Naval History and Heritage Command, Washington, DC, will honor the individuals without whom D-Day would not have been a success: soldiers and sailors, doctors and nurses, engineers and pilots, enlisted men and officers, seasoned fighters and those who had never been in combat. These veterans stormed the beaches, directed the landings, sailed or flew in support of the invasion, parachuted or piloted gliders into France, and arrived in the days after June 6, to continue the perilous work of pushing back and defeating the German Army.

Artifacts, uniforms, archival materials, ephemera, art and more will share this remarkable moment in history and provide answers to What is D-Day? How do you get an army across the English Channel and into France when your enemy is well armed, well trained, and expecting you? How did a single day and its aftermath ultimately liberate Western Europe, defeat Nazi Germany and end the Second World War?

The exhibition will include the contributions and sacrifices of Upstate South Carolinians, many of whom were in their teens, to commemorate their participation in the largest invasion ever assembled and to ensure that “the memory lives on.”

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