10 Ways to Learn More about World War II This D-Day

Commemorate the 70th anniversary of D-Day by learning more and honoring veterans

By Margaret Voelzke
|  Thursday, Jun 12, 2014  |  Updated 4:58 PM EDT
View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print

YOU MAY ALSO BE INTERESTED IN...

    Friday marks 70 years since 160,000 Allied troops stormed the French shore at Normandy, turning the tide of World War II with one of its most dramatic, and bloody, conflicts.

    But the generation that lived through the war is leaving us. About 555 World War II veterans die every day, according to the Veterans' Administration.

    This year, take some time to remember them -- and to learn more about the world-changing events of June 6, 1944. Here are 10 ways that you can honor the sacrifice of D-Day this weekend:

    10. WATCH HBO'S MINISERIES, 'BAND OF BROTHERS'

    HBO's ten-part miniseries follows "Easy" Company from their first parachute jump training until the war's end. The series, produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, introduces viewers to the vets who lived through D-Day, in their own, blunt words.

    The series is based on Stephen E. Ambrose's 1992 book of the same title and won 6 Primetime Emmy Awards, the Golden Globe Award for Best Miniseries and a Peabody Award, among others. 

    The complete DVD series can be purchased on Amazon or paid for as single, instant-view episodes.

    9. HAVE A MOVIE SCREENING OF WWII CLASSICS

    For audiences who aren't ready to commit to an 11-hour miniseries, USA Today recently released a list of the five best movies about D-Day. 

    "Saving Private Ryan," which won five Oscars, tops the list for a 27-minute opening scene that has been hailed as "arguably the most graphically authentic scene in any war movie."

    8. TAKE A TRIP TO THE NATIONAL D-DAY MEMORIAL IN BEDFORD, VA. 

    Visit the National D-Day Memorial, located about four hours south of D.C. in Bedford, Va. 

    A full list of the memorial's 70th anniversary events can be found here, but some highlights include an honor guard, recognition of D-Day veterans, music and dignitaries from France, Canada and Belgium. 

    7. VISIT THE WWII AVIATION EXHIBIT AT THE NATIONAL AIR AND SPACE MUSEUM

    The Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum has several exhibits on World War II aviation, including numerous examples of both German and American aircraft. 

    Visitors can find maps, floor plans and directions to the museum here

    6. LEARN THE HISTORY BEHIND THE FAMOUS IWO JIMA PHOTO AND SEE IT BROUGHT TO LIFE AT THE UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS WAR MEMORIAL

    Remember the other front of the war: learn how a Pulitzer Prize-winning World War II photograph was turned into one of America's most recognizable memorials. The memorial is open from 6 a.m. until midnight. More information and directions can be found here. 

    5. CHECK OUT THE WAR PHOTOGRAPHY AT THE NEWSEUM'S PULITZER PRIZE PHOTOGRAPHS GALLERY

    The Newseum's gallery of Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs features a comprehensive look at winning photographs and interviews with photographers, including Marines raising Old Glory on Iwo Jima, the inspiration for the Marine Corps Memorial. 

    The Newseum charges an admission fee, which can be found here, but also offers a free virtual tour

    4. SPEND SOME TIME AT ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY

    Some highlights of the military cemetery include the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider, the Memorial Ampitheater and several monuments and memorials. Visitors can also find the location of a particular gravesite by using a kiosk

    Private cars and buses are not allowed in Arlington National Cemetery, but tickets for an interpretative bus tour can be purchased from the cemetery's on-site Welcome Center or online.

    3. VISIT THE UNITED STATES HOLOCAUST MEMORIAL MUSEUM

    The Holocaust Memorial Museum, adjacent to the National Mall, is a living memorial that aims to inspire visitors to confront hatred. The museum currently features exhibits on complicity in the Holocaust, the Holocaust through the eyes of a child and a contemporary look at meeting the challenges of genocide. 

    The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5:20 p.m. and requires timed passed to enter the permanent exhibition. Passes can be reserved for free online in advance of visits

    2. RESEARCH YOUR RELATIVES' SERVICE

    Want to know more about your relatives' service in the United States Army during World War II? Research it!

    The National Personnel Records Center keeps records for officers who served after July 1, 1917 and enlisted personnel in service after Nov. 1912 and no longer in service. The center can help relatives find information about previously enlisted family members, casualties and particular Army units. They also provide links to help family members understand what relatives did in the Army.

    The Center of Military History also has a good FAQ about how to access personnel records on other sites. Click here to see it.

    1. VISIT THE NATIONAL WORLD WAR II MEMORIAL

    Friends of the National World War II Memorial and the National Park Service have teamed up to host a D-Day 70th Anniversary Commemoration at the National World War II Memorial. 

    The event will begin at 11 a.m. at the memorial. Historian and author Craig Symonds will serve as master of ceremonies. As part of the ceremony, representatives from each of the Allied Nations that took part in the Normandy Campaign will lay wreaths at the Freedom Wall of the memorial. 

    Attendees should RSVP here.

    Can't make the event? The memorial is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The electronic World War II Registry of Americans who contributed to the war effort, where names of loved ones can be added, can be found here

    VOLUNTEERING 

    Although visiting memorials and commemorating the 70th anniversary of D-Day is a great way to honor veterans, one of the best ways to thank them for their remarkable service is to volunteer. The United Service Organization (USO) offers several ways you can get involved and help serve veterans of all branches of the military.

    Visit their website to learn more about how to donate, volunteer and get involved with your local USO center. 

    Get the latest headlines sent to your inbox!
    View Comments (
    )
    |
    Email
    |
    Print
    Leave Comments
    NBC4's Camp4Kids
    NBC4 launched Camp4Kids in 1993,... Read more
    Follow Us
    Sign up to receive news and updates that matter to you.
    Send Us Your Story Tips
    Check Out