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June 2019 Events at the
Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum

Logo for the 75th anniversary of D-Day, 1944 - 2019

75th D-Day Commemoration June 1-6, 2019

On June 6, 1944, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Allied Commander during World War II, led the Allied Forces in the D-Day invasion of Normandy, France. Code-named Operation OVERLORD, this was the greatest invasion in human history that, less than a year later, led to the liberation of Europe from Adolf Hitler’s Nazi tyranny.

The Eisenhower Foundation, in partnership with the Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum, and Boyhood Home in Abilene, Kansas, will mark the 75th anniversary of this historic event by hosting a week of events commemorating D-Day, as well as honoring Dwight D. Eisenhower and those who bravely served the U.S. during World War II. We invite you to join us.

Meredith Sleichter, Eisenhower Foundation Executive Director, said “Our goal for the 75th D-Day Anniversary commemoration is to ultimately honor those whose service changed the course of history forever; the veterans, Rosies, and survivors of World War II. We want them to experience our gratitude in action.” 

Presenting sponsors of the D-Day 75th Commemoration events are Jeffcoat Memorial Foundation of Abilene, KS, and Pritzker Military Museum & Library of Chicago, IL, along with the generous support of all of the sponsors listed online.  

For more information about our commemorative events, please see our website. The schedule will continue to be updated, so please check back often. Contact our office via email or by phone, 785-263-6771, if you have questions.

Saturday, June 1

Photo of the Salina Symphony playing at night in front of the Eisenhower Presidential Library.

Symphony at Sunset - 75th D-Day Commemoration Concert and Activities

Saturday, June 1 | Noon - 10:00 p.m. | Campus Grounds

The 2019 concert will observe the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings in World War II. Spend the afternoon and evening on the campus of the Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene, KS. Admission is by donation.

Noon - Military re-enactors, children's activities, food vendors open 
Noon - Pop-Up Museum: Personal World War II artifacts, photos and memorabilia on display. 
Noon - 5:00 p.m. - IKEducation Hands on History StationsMuseum steps  
12:30 - 3:30 p.m. - Little Ike Story Time, Boyhood Home
3:30 p.m. - Special guest speaker: World War II veteran Louis Graziano, Visitors Center Auditorium  (See below.)
6:30 & 8 p.m. - Fort Riley Mounted Color Guard demonstration 
6:50 p.m. - Jayhawk Commemorative Air Force Flyover: World War II-era airplanes  

Musical entertainment, Library steps:
5:30 p.m. - Everyday Lights concert 
7:00 p.m. - Fort Riley's 1st Infantry Division Band 
8:30 p.m. - Salina Symphony performance 

Bring lawn chairs, blankets, sunscreen, jackets and bug spray! Some folding chairs will be available. Rain location: Abilene High School gym.

"A Patriot's Memoirs of World War II" book by Louis Graziano

Special Guest Speaker: Louis Graziano, World War II Veteran

Saturday, June 1 | 3:30 p.m | Visitors Center Auditorium

Entering the service in New York at the age of 20, Louis Graziano's World War II experiences include landing with the third wave on D-Day on Omaha Beach, fighting in the Battle of the Bulge, and serving on Dwight D. Eisenhower’s staff at Reims, France, when Germany surrendered. Don't miss this rare opportunity to hear what it was like to be a young soldier before, during and after World War II from someone who lived through it. 

Graziano's book, A Patriot's Memoirs of World War II, shares stories of life, loss and love. He met his wife, a fellow soldier, while in the service. "As we focus on our country today, we must look back to our history to help us appreciate how we became the greatest power on earth and the men and women who fought to make this happen,” says Graziano. His book is available for purchase in the Visitors Center gift shop. 

What is IKEducation?

An innovative K-12 education program created and administered by the Eisenhower Foundation, IKEducation brings the story of Dwight D. Eisenhower and his era to today’s students through interactive programs that utilize primary sources from the Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum. IKEducation programs, which are normally reserved for student field trips to the Eisenhower Presidential Library, will be open to all visitors June 1-6, 2019, as part of our 75th D-Day Commemoration. Each day will feature different programs and activities for guests to explore several World War II-era topics. 

IKEducation Programs

These one-hour IKEducation programs provide a classroom-style experience to delve into World War II topics and complementing primary sources.

Hands on History Stations

Visitors can stop by these stations to learn about specific aspects of World War II through hands-on exploration of artifacts. IKEducators will be available for discussion and questions about each station for about two hours. 

Sunday, June 2

IKEducation Program: (Library Courtyard)
Holocaust: From a Name to a Number – 1:30 - 2:30 p.m.

Hands on History Stations
 (Library 2nd floor)

Dogs for Defense - 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.   
V-Mail - 2:30 - 4:30 p.m.  
"Wild Bill Hickok Cowboy Band" Abilene, Kansas in 1941

Patriotic Concert by the Abilene Municipal Band

Sunday, June 2 | 3:00 p.m. | Visitors Center Auditorium

Founded in 1881, this band marched in President Eisenhower's 1953 and 1957 inaugural parades in Washington, D.C., and in every homecoming parade when Ike returned home to Abilene, KS. The second oldest band in Kansas, its hundred members range in age from 14 to 90 years.  Bring your friends and family to this free concert. Come early and explore the gift shop for unique gifts.  

The accompanying photo of the 1941 "Wild Bill Hickok Cowboy Band" in Abilene, KS, is courtesy of the Jeffcoat Photography Museum, Abilene, KS.

"The Mantle of Command: FDR at War" book cover, by Nigel Hamilton

Monday, June 3

IKEducation Program: (Library Courtyard)
In Plain Sight: D-Day Deception - 10:30 - 11:30 a.m.

Hands on History Stations(Library 2nd floor)
Home Front Sacrifice - 
11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Rosie the Riveter - 1:30 - 3:30 p.m.

D-Day 75th Film Series: Ike: Countdown to D-Day 
Starring Tom Selleck as Gen. Eisenhower. (1 hr. 30 min)

Monday, June 3 | 2:00 - 3:30 p.m. | Visitors Center Auditorium

Reception and Keynote Address: Dr. Nigel Hamilton, The Mantle of Command: FDR at War

Monday, June 3 | 6:30 p.m. Reception | 7:00 p.m. Program | Visitors Center Auditorium

Nigel Hamilton is an award-winning British-born biographer and historian. Hamilton will focus his talk on The Mantle of Command: FDR at War, the first book in his latest trilogy, in which he seeks to revise our understanding of Franklin D. Roosevelt as commander in chief by examining the military direction of World War II in 1941 and 1942 from Roosevelt's perspective. Hamilton offers an account of FDR’s masterful—and underappreciated—command of the Allied war effort. This event is free and open to the public. Join us for an author reception at 6:30 p.m. followed by the 7:00 p.m. program. 

The 75th D-Day Commemoration speaker series is presented by Jeffcoat Memorial Foundation of Abilene, KS, and Pritzker Military Museum & Library of Chicago, IL. 

Tuesday, June 4

IKEducation Program: (Library Courtyard)
Attic Artifacts: World War II Kids - 10:30 - 11:30 a.m.

Hands on History Stations(Library 2nd floor)
V-Mail - 
11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Dogs for Defense - 1:30 - 3:30 p.m.

D-Day 75th Film Series: The Longest Day  
Epic account of the Allied invasion of Normandy on D-Day. (2 hrs. 58 min.)

Tuesday, June 4 | 2:00 - 5:00 p.m. | Visitors Center Auditorium

Book cover image "Omaha Beach: A Flawed Victory" by Adrian R. Lewis

Reception and Keynote Address: Dr. Adrian Lewis, Omaha Beach: A Flawed Victory

Tuesday, June 4 | 6:30 p.m. Reception | 7:00 p.m. Program | Visitors Center Auditorium

Published in 2001, Omaha Beach: A Flawed Victory is still considered the best analysis available on the Normandy Invasion and the battle for Omaha Beach. American forces on Omaha Beach were forced to improvise under enemy fire, and although they were ultimately victorious, the Allied victory was a costly one. Making extensive use of primary sources, Adrian Lewis traces the development of the Normandy invasion plan to explain why the battles for the beaches were fought as they were.

Dr. Lewis has researched and written extensively on war, national security, and military affairs. Currently a Professor of Military History at the University of Kansas, Dr. Lewis is a retired soldier. He served with the 9th Infantry Division and the 2nd Ranger Battalion. This event is free and open to the public with an author reception at 6:30 p.m. followed by the 7:00 p.m. program. 

Wednesday, June 5

IKEducation Program: (Library Courtyard)
Use it Up, Wear it Out, Make it Do, or Do Without - 10:30 - 11:30 a.m.

Hands on History Stations(Library 2nd floor)
Dogs for Defense
11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Home Front Sacrifice - 1:30 - 3:30 p.m.

Special Event

Panel Discussion featuring World War II Veterans
Plan to attend this rare living history conversation! 

Wednesday, June 5 | 12:30 - 2:00 p.m. | Visitors Center Auditorium

D-Day 75th Film Series: D-Day Plus 20 Years: Eisenhower Returns to Normandy  
1964 documentary of Gen. Eisenhower recalling D-Day as he returns to Normandy. (1 hr.)

Wednesday, June 5 | 2:00 p.m. | Visitors Center Auditorium

Photo of a restored World War Two-era glider.

Reception and Keynote Address: Dr. Dennis Okerstrom, War on Silent Wings: Gliders Into Normandy, D-Day 1944

Wednesday, June 5 | 6:30 p.m. Reception | 7:00 p.m. Program | Visitors Center Auditorium

On the eve of the D-Day 75th anniversary, Dr. Dennis Okerstrom will tell about his latest book project, War on Silent Wings: Gliders Into Normandy, D-Day 1944. Gliders played a key role in the D-Day invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, carrying troops, vehicles and equipment. Released from C-47 tow planes, gliders were powered only by the prevailing winds and the guts of the men who flew them, engineless and unarmed, landing behind enemy lines, often in darkness.

Dennis Okerstrom is an award-winning teacher and scholar, currently a Professor of English at Park University in Missouri and the author of four books about World War II. A certified flight instructor, he owns and flies a restored 1942 Army scout plane. Enjoy an author reception at 6:30 p.m. followed by the 7:00 p.m. program.

VFW Vigil into D-Day

Wednesday, June 5 | 8:30 p.m. - midnight | Place of Meditation

Thursday, June 6

Free admission all day
Logo for D-Day 75 Operation OVERLORD 1944 - 2019

75th D-Day Commemoration
Remembrance Ceremony

Thursday, June 6 | 9:30 a.m. | Gen. Eisenhower Statue

On D-Day, June 6, 1944, 75 years ago, more than 150,000 Allied troops stormed the beaches of Normandy, France. The public is invited to honor Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower and the soldiers he led in World War II. The Remembrance Ceremony will feature a keynote address from Gen. Richard Myers, USAF (Ret.), former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and current president of Kansas State University; remarks by Mary Jean Eisenhower, granddaughter of General Eisenhower; a wreath-laying by representatives from four Allied countries; music by the Abilene High School Women’s Select Chorus; and the playing of taps with a rifle salute courtesy of Fort Riley and the 1st Infantry Division Band.

More than 60 World War II veterans plan to attend the ceremony, as well as several “Rosie the Riveters" who worked in factories, and a labor camp survivor. These honored guests will be available for a “meet and greet” following the ceremony until 11:30 a.m. The public is encouraged to bring lawn chairs as seating will be limited. Rain location: Visitors Center Auditorium. 

IKEducation Programs: (Visitors Center Auditorium; use East doors)
Primarily Omaha Beach - 12:00 p.m. | 1:30 p.m. | 3:00 p.m. - NORTH HALF of auditorium
Code Talkers - 12:30 p.m. | 2:00 p.m. | 3:30 p.m. - SOUTH HALF of auditorium

Hands on History Station: (Library 2nd floor)
Rosie the Riveter 
11:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.  Real life Rosies might stop by!

Hope and Liberty Concert - Join us for the finale of our 75th D-Day Commemoration week.
Thursday, June 6 | 6:30 p.m. | Visitors Center Auditorium

Baseball great, Jackie Robinson, talks with President Eisenhower

Evenings at Ease: 34 and 42: Going to Bat for Equality with Tim Rives

Tuesday, June 11 | 7:00 p.m. | Visitors Center Auditorium

Tim Rives, Deputy Director of the Eisenhower Presidential Library, will talk about the relationship between baseball star Jackie Robinson and President Eisenhower, including the correspondence between the pair. They shared a love for baseball and a desire to advance civil rights for African Americans, although their approaches differed.

Fort Riley soldiers place a wreath at the grave of General Dwight Eisenhower

Flag Day: Ft. Riley Army Wreath Laying Ceremony

Friday, June 14 | 1:00 p.m. | Place of Meditation

Military leaders and soldiers from the 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, KS, will lead this ceremony, paying tribute to the leadership of Dwight D. Eisenhower on the U.S. Army's 244th birthday. Visitors are invited to line the sidewalk as the procession moves from the Eisenhower Presidential Library to the Place of Meditation, where a wreath will be placed at General Eisenhower's graveside. 

Lunch & Learn: Dwight D. Eisenhower and the U.S. Census Bureau

Thursday, June 27 | 12:00 noon | Visitors Center Auditorium

Mary Burtzloff, Audiovisual Archivist at the Eisenhower Presidential Library, will talk about Eisenhower in the census records. Emily Kelley, a Partnership Specialist with the U.S. Census Bureau, will discuss the changes for the upcoming 2020 census. This event is free and open to the public. A light lunch will be provided; first come, first served. 

Eisenhower Presidential Museum Exhibit Renovation

 Photo of new exhibits in progress at Eisenhower Presidential Museum.

The entire museum of the Eisenhower Presidential Library will be new this summer! We are pleased to share this sneak peek photo as installation of new exhibits gets underway. The comprehensive redesign will reveal Ike and Mamie's story in their own words. New interactive features will encourage guests to engage with the exhibits and learn how Dwight D. Eisenhower remains relevant today.

We are truly grateful for your contributions to the Eisenhower Foundation’s Dwight D. Eisenhower: A Legacy of Leadership capital campaign which made this renovation possible. Because of your financial support, we will soon welcome guests to a new, engaging experience at the Eisenhower Presidential Museum in Abilene, Kansas.

As Ike often stated, "Plans are worthless, but planning is everything." The recent government shutdown did disrupt construction, which will delay the expected opening until late July.

The 22-acre campus remains open and temporary exhibits are on display in the library building until the museum project is complete. Open daily from 8:00 a.m. to 5:45 p.m. in June and July, our 22-acre campus includes:  

  • Boyhood home with guided tours showcasing original furnishings
  • Library building featuring exhibits and supplemental videos
  • Place of Meditation – the final resting place of President and Mrs. Eisenhower
  • Visitors Center with overview film and gift shop
  • Eisenhower statue – popular photo background

Unless noted, all programs are free and open to the public, thanks to your generous support.

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About the Eisenhower Foundation

The Eisenhower Foundation non-profit was formed in 1945 after the Allied victory in Europe to create a memorial to General Eisenhower. The Boyhood Home was opened in 1947 and the Museum in 1954 by the Foundation. Public and private entities raised $3.5 million to build the Library which opened in 1962. Today, five buildings on 22 acres, comprise the Eisenhower Center and includes the Presidential Library, Presidential Museum, family home, Visitors Center and Place of Meditation.

The mission of the Eisenhower Foundation is to honor and champion the relevance today of the life and leadership of Dwight D. Eisenhower through compelling programs and events that celebrate his legacy. 

Donations to the Eisenhower Foundation provide funding to support the exhibits, educational programs, and community events at the Eisenhower Presidential Library, Museum and Boyhood Home in Abilene, Kansas.

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