On June 6, 1944, Allied forces crossed the English Channel and landed on the beaches of Normandy, France to liberate Western Europe from the occupation of Nazi Germany. With 176,000 troops arriving by landing craft and ships, as well as nearly 14,000 aircraft, the Allied forces were able to secure Northern France within 3 months despite a vicious effort by Nazi forces.
Each year on June 6, Sainte Mere Eglise, the first village to be liberated by American paratroopers, hosts this historic parade. military units, marching bands, cultural and civic groups will march down the same streets that were lined with American troops in 1944. The town has since named their streets after Allied Generals including General Eisenhower. They have also preserved WWII era artifacts in the WWII museum in the center of town. The Mayor has expressed his best wishes and looks forward to greeting the parade participants as they visit his wonderful village. In addition to the parade a concert series will be staged in the town square featuring outstanding performing groups.
This event has been recognized by numerous veterans associations, community organizations, military and government officials and will provide participants and spectators an opportunity to salute those men and women who have sacrificed for our nation.
Two official public ceremonies will take place at the American Cemeteries in the Normandy region, including the Brittany American Cemetery and the Normandy American Cemetery. Combined, these solemn and sacred cemeteries are the final resting place for nearly 15,000 brave Americans who paid the ultimate sacrifice as part of the D-Day and Normandy campaigns during the summer of 1944.
These important ceremonies not only provide a tribute to the fallen, but they also serve as a reminder to all those participating in the ceremony the price of freedom. The sacrifice made by so many, and the motivation behind it, should be honored, cherished and never forgotten.
The theme of the D-Day Memorial Parade and American Musical Salute to the Veterans is "remembering our past and celebrating our future." The purpose of the event is to honor and pay respect to the WWII survivors, our veterans, active duty military and their families.
The event includes two beautiful and solemn ceremonies at the American Cemeteries in Brittany and Normandy, and, of course, the D-Day Memorial Parade held each year in Sainte-Mere-Eglise in Normandy, France in commemoration of the anniversary of D-Day.
Private Guided Tour - Walk in the footsteps of the Band of Brothers as you tour historical battle sites, Omaha and Utah Beaches, hear the stories and walk the steps of Dick Winters/Easy Company/101st Airborne, the original Dirty Dozen, and heroes from The Longest Day in beautiful Normandy, France.
Dignitaries and Military from around the world will be participating in the festivities and reenactments. See over 1,000 paratroopers jumping together to recreate our brave soldiers who parachuted into Normandy for D Day Invasion.
- Private Guided Tour seeing the sights and sounds of beautiful Paris.
- Most meals included at very good restaurants.
- Lodging will be 3 Star hotel or better.
We’ve requested to stay in historical Bayeux, Mont St. Michele or St. Mere Eglise while in Normandy.
In the words of one participating director:
I wasn't sure if I should have gone on the trip because I'm not one for crowds or fanfare. I soon realized that my decision to attend was the right one. As a Vietnam vet, I didn't get the parade when I came home. Actually, no one cared but my father. I was called "baby killer" and had a hard time adjusting. I was determined that I would not wind up on the street and retired after 33 years with General Dynamics building the best submarines in the world for the best Navy in the world.
If I'm not leading by example, then I'm not doing the right thing, and I want to always do the right thing...Teamwork is what makes common people capable of uncommon results.
Participating in the 70th Anniversary of D Day festivities was a highlight of our lives! Touring the battlefield sites, paying homage in the cemeteries, and walking in same steps as the heroes we saw in Band Of Brothers, Saving Private Ryan, and The Longest Day brought what we saw in movies and read in books alive. Marching and representing the Elks in the D Day Parade made us very proud to be Elks and most proud to be Americans! With much anticipation, we look forward to being part of history as we participate in the 75th Anniversary of D Day
Rudy & Dolly Masi, St. Petersburg Lodge #1224
I will never forget the elderly French women in wheelchairs standing up and hugging us as we marched by in the parade yelling out “Americans, we love you! Thank you, Americans” in heavily accented English.
Nick Pusta, St. Petersburg Lodge #1224
The entire experience made me appreciate being an American. It was the most awesome, proud moment of my life!
Rick Masi, St. Petersburg Lodge #1224
Parade of Heroes 2017