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To think it's been 80 years since D-Day when the allies in World War 2 made the decisive move to land on the beaches of Normandy.  It was actually a 50 mile stretch of ocean front that was invaded by the US and the UK and their allies.  The beaches were given the code names UTAH, OMAHA, GOLD, JUNO, and SWORD. The invasion force included 7,000 ships and landing craft manned by over 195,000 naval personnel from eight allied countries. Almost 133,000 troops from the United States, the British Commonwealth, and their allies, landed on D-Day.  In Muskegon, we have one of those remarkable ships that changed the course of history.  The LST 393 is in Muskegon Lake and resides at the Mart Dock and the D-Day Memorial is an important remembrance that we are so fortunate to be able to preserve in the way we do. 

 

Jim Flood is with the LST 393 and the Aquastar which is also based at the Mart Dock and he invited us down on a rainy Monday to talk about the upcoming weekend filled with honor and remembrance.  There will be elements of interest, and period inspired fun too, but the overall tone of the weekend is education and reverence for the Greatest Generation.  Something to think about, there's only about 1% of those who served in WWII that are still alive today.  Within them, lies the strength and courage it took to continue our path to become who we are in the world today and to honor that memory is essential not only to us, but to pass down to our children and our children's children.

The weekend of events begins Friday night with a swing dance on board the LST.  8pm is the kick off and there will also be displays of WWII artifacts as well as reenactors on hand, displays of military vehicles and food trucks to make sure you are well fed.  Saturday, 8a....the Northside Lions are slinging and all you can eat pancake breakfast to begin the day with a solemn opening ceremony at 10a.  There will then be a day filled with reenactments including a mock air raid on the LST itself by the Hooligans Flight Team.  To give young people the idea of just how intense war really is....well, that's the lesson and while it's something we should all pray never happens again, we have to understand too that freedom isn't free.  In a world where war seems like a video game on TV, a clear understanding of the horror of it...it's an important lesson.

The LST 393 is open seasonally for tours and memorial.  Inside is a spectacular museum honoring local soldiers and you'll find the ship altered very little from it's original configuration.  To stroll the decks and the stairs from the engine room to the pilot house is an experience you'll only find in Muskegon and we're proud to support such a historically significant piece of history in town. 

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