Sand of D-Day invasion beaches part of veterans’ mall.

May 12, 2017
Seven area World War II veterans attended the event.

Seven area World War II veterans attended the event

Sand of D-Day invasion beaches part of veterans’ mall.


Sidney Wilkens, left, and Barney Barnett


By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

LUDINGTON — A small ceremony took place Thursday afternoon at the future site of the veterans’ mall being constructed at the Mason County war memorial at Stearns Park. Seven area World War II veterans sat in front of the memorial and placed a cup of sand into the ground. The cup contains sand from Omaha and Utah beaches, two of the four French beaches where Allied forces landed on D-Day, Operation Neptune, on June 6, 1944, and began the liberation of German-occupied northwestern Europe. The invasion was also the largest seaborne invasion in history.

Free Soil residents Bob and Deanne Gancarz attended the 60th anniversary ceremonies of the invasion and gathered a small amount of sand from the two beaches. The other two beaches in the invasion were Gold and Juno beaches. See video

The mall will be a mini version of the military mall located in Washington, D.C. When completed within about a month, it will include a sculpture, flags of each of the Armed Services, benches, landscaping, and a seating wall. It would also include a bust honoring William Charrette, a Mason County man who received the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions during the Korean war. The mall will stretch from Lakeshore Drive to Stearns Outer Drive.

The mall is being funded through donations. A public unveiling is planned for Sunday, June 25.

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