(June 10, 2014) A delegation from NGAUS has returned from Normandy, France, after taking part in ceremonies honoring the 70th anniversary of D-Day.
June 6 marked seven decades since Allied forces landed on the beaches of Northern France in what was the beginning of the end of occupied Europe. The battle was one of the most significant days of combat in National Guard history.
The group, led by Maj. Gen. Steve Danner, the NGAUS chairman and Missouri adjutant general, and Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger, the Indiana adjutant general and a National Guard Educational Foundation board member, marked the day with a sunrise ceremony at Omaha Beach. The event honored the Guard's 29th Infantry Division, which sustained heavy casualties as part of the first wave to storm the beach that day.
Remembrances continued at the American Cemetery in Coleville-sur-Mer and ended with a ceremony at the NGAUS monument in Vierville-sur-Mer on Omaha Beach. The monument sits on the spot where the 29th Infantry Division broke through German defenses on D-Day.
The stone, and the original bunker it sits on, are maintained by NGEF. The monument is dedicated to all Guardsmen who lost their lives on D-Day and through both World War I and World War II.
While in France, the group traveled to Pointe-du-Hoc, a cliff overlooking Omaha Beach that Army Rangers stormed on D-Day. The delegation also went to the Peregory Monument to the National Guard.