WILLIAMSPORT, LYCOMING COUNTY(WBRE/WYOU)- Today we remember a historic battle from World War II, D-Day. Decades later, we still pay tribute to the lives lost while defending our country. Eyewitness News was in Williamsport with a historian today to learn more.
June 6th 2022 marks the 78th anniversary of D-Day. It was a major turning point in World War II and those who fought in battle are still being remembered right here in Lycoming County.
June 6, 1944, the largest amphibious invasion in the history of warfare took place. On D-Day over 150,000 American, British and Canadian troops stormed the beaches of Normandy to fight Nazi Germany. 78 years later, soldiers who died in the war are still celebrated at the Thomas T. Taber Museum.
“There’s a very proud heritage of men and women serving during WWII. Two of those men were Paul Free and Billy Brand,” said Gary Parks, Director of the Thomas T. Taber Museum.
The two men were from Lycoming County and died in the Pearl Harbor attacks. They were both awarded the Purple Heart, both of which are displayed at the museum.
“We feel that we are trustees for the heritage of the county. And so if any families saved a textile, it was either a wedding dress or a military uniform,” said Parks
Those uniforms are placed right beside the memorial for the soldiers. In addition to them, Parks says many people from the region also went to war.
According to Parks, during the course of the war over 9,000 Lycoming Countians served. Some by draft, some by choice.
D-Day represents a major shift in power during the war. The Allied Forces battled to liberate Western European countries from Nazi control. Parks say we should continue to honor those who fought for freedom and made the ultimate sacrifice.
“Over 500 Lycoming County men and women died in the war effort. It’s very important to remember that they lost their lives for the service of their country,” says Parks
If D-Day not been a success, World War II may have ended differently. The Taber Museum aims to preserve local history and welcomes family relics from the war.
You can learn more about D-Day and World War II and the museum on their website here.