D-Day Symposium


On June 6, 1944, more than 150,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily fortified French coastline to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy. Explore the momentous invasion of France in what President Franklin D. Roosevelt called the “fight to end conquest.”

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Schedule of Events

8-8:30 a.m. – Check-in and Late Registration. Army Historical Foundation Book Sale.
Check-in starting at 8 a.m. Pick up grab-and-go snacks in the Museum Café. Enjoy complimentary coffee service and explore the book sale including those authored by symposium speakers and a general selection of military history books—new and used copies will be available.

8:30-8:45 a.m. – Museum Director’s Welcome with Tammy E. Call

8:45-9:45 a.m. – Preparing for Victory: Crafting the Plan, with Craig L. Symonds, Ph.D.
Planning for the 1944 Allied invasion of Nazi-occupied France took months. The plan included a massive deception campaign to confuse the German defenders. The logistics were overwhelming. The Allies needed to bring 150,000 men across the English Channel to attack the German-held beaches. If any part of this plan was leaked, the whole invasion could have failed. How did the Allies pull off such a complicated attack?

Craig L. Symonds, Ph.D. is professor emeritus at the U. S. Naval Academy, where he served as chairman of the history department, and he is a U.S. Navy veteran. He is the author of several military history books, including “Lincoln and his Admirals,” and “Neptune: The Allied Invasion of Europe and the D-Day Landings.”

10-11 a.m. – Victory Begins: The D-Day Invasion, with John C. McManus, Ph.D.
The D-Day assault on June 6, 1944, was the largest amphibious invasion in military history. Heroic U.S. Army Soldiers landed on Utah and Omaha beaches at Normandy, France. What did the men encounter on those beaches? How did the U.S. forces fair once they met German resistance?

John C. McManus, Ph.D. is the author of “The Americans at Normandy: The Summer of 1944,” and “The Dead and Those About to Die: D-Day: The Big Red One at Omaha Beach.” He is Curators’ Distinguished Professor of U.S. military history at the Missouri University of Science and Technology.

11-11:45 a.m. – Exhibiting Power: D-Day Artifacts from the Museum, with Paul Morando
The National Museum of the United States Army has numerous artifacts from D-Day in the Global War Gallery. Discover the stories behind these treasured artifacts and hear about their journey from restoration to their display at the National Army Museum.

Paul Morando is the Chief Curator for the National Museum of the United States Army. He was previously Museum Director of the U.S. Army Quartermaster Museum at Fort Gregg-Adams, Virginia.

11:45 a.m.-1 p.m. – Lunch on your own and gallery exploration
Enjoy a Simple & Fresh Lunch Box prepared by the Museum’s on-site caterer. These lunch box orders are $20 each and are delivered directly to participants in Veterans’ Hall. Orders must be completed no later than Thursday, March 28, 2024. The Museum Café also offers a variety of lunch options that may be purchased on-site.
Click here for the lunch box menu and to order.

1-2 p.m. – “The Lost Paratroopers of Normandy,” with Stephen G. Rabe, Ph.D.
The D-Day invasion had an enormous effect on the lives of those ordinary people who lived in Normandy at the time. They did extraordinary things in defense of liberty and freedom by providing food, gathering intelligence, and giving medical aid to the U.S. Army paratroopers who landed in their villages. Historian Stephen G. Rabe, son of one of these paratroopers, meticulously documents the forgotten lives of those who participated in this integral part of D-Day history.

Dr. Stephen G. Rabe is a retired professor of history at the University of Texas at Dallas, a former U.S. Marine, and author of “The Lost Paratroopers of Normandy: A Story of Resistance, Courage, and Solidarity in a French Village.”

2:15-3:15 p.m. – Attack from Above: The U.S. Army Airborne Assault on June 6, with Mitchell A. Yockelson, Ph.D.
One of the most significant aspects of the June 6, 1944 invasion was the U.S. Army’s daring airborne operations behind the German army’s coastal defenses. Military historian Mitchell Yockelson details the heroic actions of the 13,000 paratroopers and 4,000 glider infantrymen on D-Day and beyond. How did they manage this daring feat? What happened once they leapt from the safety of their planes? How did they fare once they made it to the ground?

Mitchell A. Yockelson, Ph.D., a former professor at the U.S. Naval Academy, is now an investigative archivist with the National Archives and Records Administration. He is the author of “The Paratrooper Generals: Matthew Ridgway, Maxwell Taylor, and the American Airborne from D-Day through Normandy.”

3:15-3:30 p.m. – Conclusion

3:30-5 p.m. – D-Day Exhibit Sneak Peek
Be the first to explore the Museum’s latest special exhibit, “D-Day: Freedom from Above.” Experience the great invasion through the eyes of U.S. Army paratroopers. Interactive Histopad technology takes you on a journey through individual Soldier stories, following their unprecedented airborne landings to their actions on the ground during those historic moments in 1944.

On display, together for the first time, the four medals of honor awarded to U.S. Army Soldiers for their actions on D-Day. See the medals and learn more about these heroic Soldiers.

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