6 June 2019 will mark the 75th anniversary of the famed WWII D-Day air and sea assault into Normandy, France by Allied Forces. To commemorate this historical event that initiated the liberation of Western Europe from Nazi control, and to pay tribute to those hailed as our greatest generation, the residents of Carbon and surrounding counties, joined by countless visitors to the Poconos, will converge on Penn’s Peak for “Carbon Remembers D-Day, 6 June 1944, 75th Anniversary.”
While the events of the evening will be literally center stage, specific recognition to our quickly declining WWII generation veterans, and those who supported them on the home front, will serve as the focal point of this commemoration event.
“Carbon Remembers D-Day” was conceived by native Thorper and retired U.S. Army Colonel Chris Lukasevich, who organized and hosted a D-Day commemoration event in 2003 while attending the Australian Command & Staff College in Canberra, Australia. However, the motivation for specifically recognizing the 75th anniversary arose during a trip to the Normandy coast and D-Day beaches in October 2010.
With his military veteran wife Maggie, Lukasevich spent three days visiting the area and recounting the heroic actions while referencing historical documents to better understand the importance and critical events of 6 June 1944. At the end of the second day, and while overlooking Omaha Beach from the edge of The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial at Colleville-sur-Mer in France, the American Battle Monuments Commission’s cemetery director invited Chris and Maggie to assist with raising the flags over the cemetery the following morning. He will tell you that never have two soldiers and American citizens been so honored.
As a result of this honor, Lukasevich committed to himself that wherever he would be on the 75th anniversary he would find a way to venerate the participants and actions of that day in a manner befitting the heroic task undertaken. Since raising the flags over the Normandy American Cemetery, he retired after 34 years in the U.S. Army, and returned to his native Jim Thorpe. Right here in Carbon County, on 6 June 2019 commencing at 1800 hours (6 p.m.) at Penn’s Peak, Lukasevich will carry out his pledge.
Carbon Remembers D-Day will begin sharply at 1800 hours (6 p.m.) with a performance by the SwingTime Dolls, an all female vocal group famed for their repertoire of songs from the American Hit Parade of the 1940s and beyond. Drawing on inspiration from The Andrews Sisters, the Dolls pride themselves on tight and intricate harmonies, pin-up styled costumes and energetic choreography. Their performance is strongly influenced by the Andrews Sisters, The Lennon Sisters, Billie Holiday, Rosemary Clooney, Doris Day, and Glenn Miller. More details about the Dolls can be viewed at Swingtimedolls.com
Following a brief intermission, at 1915 hours (7:15 p.m.) posting of colors (flags) by the Pennsylvania National Guard will be ushered in by a formal welcome and singing of God Bless America by Ms. Emily McManaman whose mother is another native of Jim Thorpe, the former Miss Karen Kroculick.
The feature of the evening will start at 1930 (7:30 p.m.) with the viewing of the epic WWII D-Day film “The Longest Day.” The movie, filmed in many of the original locations, was directed by Darryl Zanuck and based on Cornelius Ryan’s book of the same name. While John Wayne gets top billing, an all-star international cast impersonates high ranking officials to the average G.I. and include notable actors such as Robert Mitchum, Paul Anka, Eddie Albert, Sean Connery, Fabian, George Segal and Henry Fonda.
For the Rotten Tomato fans, “The Longest Day” earned 91% on the Tomatometer and a 91% Audience Score. See www.rottentomatoes.com/m/longest_day.
Net proceeds from Carbon Remembers D-Day will go to VALOR Clinic, a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization committed to improving access to, and quality of healthcare and shelter for Veterans and Boy Scout Troop of America 555. Both organizations are providing the volunteers to support the event.
Entry passes are available on the web at CarbonRemembersDDay.org. For further information call (570) 503-6780 or visit the event’s Facebook page Carbon Remembers D-Day. See you at the Peak.