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This will be a summer of memories

By Joe Centers • May 14, 2019 at 12:00 PM

This will be a big summer with three major anniversaries — the 75th for D-Day and the 50th of the July 4 flood and the July 20 landing on the moon.

We want to commemorate all three anniversaries with special sections and we need your help. What do you remember of the events? Do you know anybody who was part of D-Day? If you do, share their memories and any photos you may have. 

These are all special moments that never will be forgotten:

D-Day

On June 6, 1944, more than 160,000 Allied troops landed along a 50-mile stretch of heavily-fortified French coastline, to fight Nazi Germany on the beaches of Normandy, France.

Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower called the operation a crusade in which “we will accept nothing less than full victory.” More than 5,000 ships and 13,000 aircraft supported the D-Day invasion and by day’s end, the Allies gained a foot-hold in Continental Europe.

The cost in lives on D-Day was high. More than 9,000 Allied soldiers were killed or wounded, but their sacrifice allowed more than 100,000 soldiers to begin the slow, hard slog across Europe, to defeat Adolf Hitler’s crack troops.

Fourth of July flood

It started out as a normal summer holiday, but suddenly it all went wrong when the reservoir at Veterans Memorial Lake Park gave way. The city was flooded. In fact, there was flooding from Norwalk to Vermilion and throughout the area. Damage was in the millions and at least eight people died in the storm. 

Officials of the five-county area said they “no idea, other than that it will be in the millions,” what it eventually would cost to restore highways, bridges, signs and public facilities swept away in the swirling waters, according to newspaper reports following the floods. 

First man on the moon

On July 20, 1969, American astronauts Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin became the first humans ever to land on the moon. About 6 1/2 hours later, Armstrong became the first person to walk on the moon. As he took his first step, Armstrong famously said, "That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind." The Apollo 11 mission occurred eight years after President John F. Kennedy announced a national goal of landing a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s. 

There are a lot of you who have memories of these three events, especially first-hand accounts of the flood.

We would like to hear from you and, if possible, share your stories and photos with others. If you are interested send your stories and photos to [email protected] or call me at 419-668-3771 ext. 1234.

Joe Centers is Reflector managing editor. He can be reached at [email protected]

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