Group trying to raise $500K for Navy D-Day memorial in Normandy
Of the more than 60 monuments or memorials honoring Americans and allied forces killed in the D-Day invasion at Normandy, not a single one represents the U.S. Navy.
“Can you believe that? Normandy was the largest naval operation in history, involving 124,000 naval personal overall, 1,068 died, and eight ships sunk,” said retired Navy Capt. Gregory Streeter, chairman of the Normandy Monument Committee for the Naval Order of the United States.
“We’re taking up the challenge to rectify what we consider an oversight,” he said Friday in a telephone interview from Jacksonville, Fla.
The Naval Order is spearheading a fundraising effort to collect $500,000 needed to build, transport and erect what will be a 12-foot bronze monument honoring the U.S. Navy.
The organization is expected to dedicate the monument on June 6, 2008, the 64th anniversary of the D-Day invasion when Allied forces stormed the beaches of Normandy to push Adolf Hitler’s army out of France.
“The monument will be placed on Utah Beach in Normandy, at a site given to us by the French and adjacent to the Utah Beach museum,” Streeter said.
The lack of recognition for the Navy is enormous, considering the naval component of the operation comprised 1,213 Allied warships, the preponderance of which was American, according to a Naval Order news release. The Navy’s main task was to provide bombardment firepower for the troops going ashore, guard the transports, and to conduct mine-sweeping and antisubmarine patrols.
The Naval Order’s monument, approved by the American Battle Monuments Commission, which oversees all overseas American military cemeteries, will feature three figures, Streeter explained. One will be an officer, representing planning, direction and command and control. A second will be a sailor in the act of loading a gun to represent the shore bombardment. The third figure will be kneeling to represent Navy combat demolition units, the frontrunners to today’s SEALs and explosive ordnance disposal teams, he said.
The foundation is accepting tax-free donations via the mail at: Naval Order Foundation, P.O. Box 583, Glenview, IL 60025-0583, or by visiting its Web site at: www.navalorder.org.
“Our major problem so far is getting the word out across the country. When we come across a veteran with a patriotic bent, we find them to be very supportive,” Streeter said.
EDITOR'S NOTE: The following clarification to this story was posted Dec. 18:A Dec. 17 story about a group trying to raise money to build a D-Day monument to the Navy in Normandy, France, should have stated that there is a small plaque on Omaha Beach dedicated to the 6th Naval Beach Battalion for its role in the June 6, 1944, invasion. However, the Normandy Monument Committee for the Naval Order of the United States does not consider the plaque as a monument to the U.S. Navy for the mammoth role the service played in the battle, according to retired Navy Capt. Gregory Streeter.