International College to Commemorate D-Day 60th Anniversary with Month-Long Display, Reception June 8
International College will join the nation next month in honoring the 60th anniversary of the Normandy Beach invasion (D-Day) with a special reception on Tuesday, June 8.
The special reception, to be held 2 p.m. at International College’s Naples campus, honors all World War veterans and commemorates the 60th Anniversary of D-Day. Award-winning narrator and World War II Veteran Dr. Peter Thomas will serve as keynote speaker.
Thomas, who was named International College’s 2004 Humanitarian of the Year, will read President Eisenhower’s Proclamation to the Troops and a self-authored poem, “Omaha Beach,” during the reception.
The College also will host a month-long display of photographs, artifacts, and memorabilia from various Theaters of War loaned to the College’s Falciglia Art Gallery by faculty, staff, and leadership, as well as by artist Ed Calhoun.
“International College wanted to join the nation in honoring our veterans at an appropriate time, which is both the 60th Anniversary of D-Day and the opening in Washington of the World War II Memorial,” said Melody Hainsworth, Ph.D., Vice President of Information Resources. “The reception will offer personal insights from IC family as well as an understanding of how those who have served in various theaters of war felt about being away from home and family.”
Calhoun’s “The Normandy Series: the Artist’s Perspectives,” a nine black & white photography series, will be shown for the first time in the United States. The photos have previously been shown throughout Europe.
“Nearly 60 years after the conclusion of World War II, the Normandy geography still bears witness to the violence of war. These photos provide a somber and powerful reflection on war, peace, geography, and the passage of time,” said Ed Calhoun, who took the photos in 2002, and is based in Paris. “This series of photographs is dedicated to the Allied soldiers who fought and lost their lives on D-Day, and to the memory of what took place in Normandy. My hope is that the series provokes discussion and further exploration by the public. I think that history is very easily, and too quickly, forgotten.”
Published reports show that 4 million American World War II veterans are still alive, but are dying at a rate of 1,056 per day.
“I hope International College’s Theaters of War event evokes a reverential feeling in people,” Peter Thomas said. “I want people to take time and think about what a historic moment D-Day was. The moment reflects a tremendous contribution from these young men to their country.”
Thomas will lend the College a spade he used to dig foxholes during his tour of duty in World War II. He also lent the College iron crosses from German soldier’s helmets. Other items on loan from IC family include: a soldier’s diary, a soldier’s uniform, a 1918 book of color plates of WWI, and a map detailing the route used by the First Infantry Division while in Europe during WWII.
The map is owned by adjunct faculty member and World War II veteran Tony D’Amore, who was 21 when he was activated to duty. In addition to the map, he also donated a documentary on D-Day. D’Amore, a lifetime member of the WWII Memorial Foundation, encourages people to go to the library and check out books on World War II or rent documentaries on the war.
“D-Day is an important part of history that Americans should never forget,” said D’Amore, who received two purple hearts and a bronze star for his valiant efforts. “I want the public who attends International College’s Theater of War reception to realize that what they enjoy today did not come free.”