Created by Student News Net, the initiative includes a trove of hands-on materials that connects students with the experiences of those who participated in the world’s largest seaborne invasion, as well as those whose lives were directly impacted by one of the most pivotal moments in history.
“One of the core tenants of our mission is education,” said Moreno Aguiari, executive director of the D-Day Squadron. “With the people who were actually there quickly diminishing, efforts such as this are the best way for recent generations to really understand the importance of the Normandy invasion for the preservation of humanity and freedom, and how we can learn from this event to plan for the preservation our own future.”
A sample of what The People of D-Day trunk will contain:
- Two anchor books: “The Boys of Pointe du Hoc” by Douglas Brinkley and “Shores Beyond Shores: From Holocaust to Hope, My True Story,” by Irene Butter with John Bidwell and Kris Holloway
- A Map Puzzle of Europe in 1939
- A timeline for students to complete with stickers of key events during World War II
- Sample World War II V-mail form for students to complete and fold as soldiers and families did during the war
- D-Day Squadron content, including information on the C-47 airplane, the “Blue Spruce” North Atlantic Air Ferry Route, and content on the United States contingent of the DAKS over Normandy flyover for the 75th anniversary.
- People of D-Day: “Walk in Their Footsteps,” a spiral-bound book featuring key people, with copies of related primary source documents, including Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander; Group Captain James Stagg, Eisenhower’s chief meteorologist (including copies of original weather charts from early June and an interview with a meteorologist who explains the forecast); Fred Bahlau, a D-Day veteran who was a paratrooper with the 101st Airborne (Student News Net interviewed Fred in 2009. He passed away in 2014.); and Rosie the Riveter: Student News Net interviews with original “Rosies” who supported the war effort on the home front by working at factories building airplanes, ships, tanks, vehicles, and munitions.
Judy Stanford Miller, editor and co-founder of Student News Net, explained her passion for this subject and why it’s so important to help students understand D-Day and how it relates to their own role as global citizens: “Ten years ago, I stood on Omaha Beach in Normandy during the 65th anniversary of D-Day. Veterans were there recalling the horrors of the day, still too difficult for them to describe in detail 65 years later. I committed then to never allow this history to be lost to future generations. As the 75th anniversary approaches, we are incredibly excited and honored to be working with the D-Day Squadron to bring a comprehensive package of compelling and immersive content to students, teachers, and parents.”
The D-Day Squadron is the part of the Tunison Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)(3) charitable organization. In June 2019, the D-Day Squadron will lead an American fleet of historic, restored C-47 World War II military aircraft in Daks Over Normandy, a flyover of more than 30 international aircraft to drop 250 paratroopers over the original 1944 drop zones in Normandy commemorating the 75th anniversary of D-Day.
The event will honor the citizen soldiers of the War, whose bravery led the Allies to the liberation of France, and then to an end of the devastating War in Europe. The squadron’s education program takes the story of the citizen soldier to audiences at airshows and events off the flight line to honor these brave Americans and ensure their memory and significance is appreciated for generations to come.