Forever Young is pleased to announce a generous gift from The Reagan Legacy Foundation that will fund the return of five American D-Day veterans to Normandy, France for the 70th anniversary of the historic invasion.
On June 6, 1944, 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of the heavily fortified French coastline to fight Nazi Germany. More than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion, and by day’s end on June 6, the Allies gained a foothold in Normandy. The D-Day cost was high as more than 9,000 Allied soldiers were killed or wounded, but more than 100,000 soldiers began the march across Europe to defeat Hitler.
The 70th anniversary of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy will be commemorated by many Allied Heads of State and hundreds of thousands of visitors from all over the world from June through the end of August. Forever Young will be returning 13 Normandy veterans for this special occasion.
“This gift means everything to our elderly warriors, for they would not have the opportunity to return to the beaches of Normandy without people like Michael Reagan and members of The Reagan Legacy Foundation who care enough to give financial support,” said Forever Young Founder and President, Diane Hight.
Diane met Michael Reagan in Normandy on a WWII Trip of Honor in May 2013. It was there that the two forged an alliance to help fund this year’s historic trip for the 70th anniversary.
“The Reagan Legacy Foundation clearly understands the urgency of this important mission and thanks to them, our WWII veterans will once again see the land they liberated,” Hight said.
“I am very honored to support these distinguished veterans who truly changed the course of history,” said Michael Reagan. “The sacrifices they made so that others could live free should never be forgotten.”
The Reagan Legacy Foundation is a non-profit, charitable organization founded by Michael Reagan, eldest son of President Ronald Reagan. The organization seeks to advance the causes President Reagan held dear and to memorialize the accomplishments of his presidency.
Ronald Reagan was the first American president to commemorate the anniversary of the Normandy invasion. In his moving speech at Pointe de Hoc on June 6, 1984, President Reagan honored D-Day veterans stating, “The men of Normandy had faith that what they were doing was right, faith that they fought for all humanity, faith that a just God would grant them mercy on this beachhead or on the next. It was the deep knowledge — and pray God we have not lost it — that there is a profound, moral difference between the use of force for liberation and the use of force for conquest. You were here to liberate, not to conquer, and so you and those others did not doubt your cause. And you were right not to doubt.”
As part of the 70th anniversary commemoration, The Reagan Legacy Foundation will also open a permanent exhibit at the Airborne Museum located in the heart of Sainte Mère Eglise, Normandy. The museum is dedicated to the American Paratroopers of the 82nd and 101st Airborne who, as members of the Allied forces, swept in and began the liberation on the streets of this small but extremely important town. The exhibit will feature a 15-minute educational film highlighting Ronald Reagan’s personal military service in WWII, his 1984 speech at Normandy, and his passionate fight for freedom and democracy throughout the world. Forever Young’s veterans will participate in the opening of the exhibit.