In commemoration of the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the Invasion of Normandy that led the Allied Forces to victory in World War II, Eisenhower Birthplace State Historic Site in Denison has a special photograph on display..
The photograph depicts a famous scene of Dwight D. Eisenhower from when he was Supreme Commander of Allied Expeditionary Forces in World War II. Gen. Eisenhower is seen in the photograph addressing a group of paratroopers on June 5, 1944 before the operation began.
Eisenhower would go on to become the 34th President of the United States.
Eisenhower Birthplace Site Educator Robin Cole-Jett said there are a total of 22 men identified with the photograph. She said the organization began researching the photograph in February and it took until early May to complete.
“We thought it would be very simple,” Cole-Jett said. “We discovered very quickly most of the research hadn’t been done. We started looking at the men who might have been in the photograph and that is when it took on a life of its own.”
She said the exhibit was important to the site because this year is the 75th anniversary of a defining moment in the life of the man the site commemorates.
“We knew we were going to do something for the anniversary,” Cole-Jett said. “We found out a lot about the men who would have otherwise remained anonymous. We were able to identify them and name them. We are very pleased with the outcome.”
The exhibit takes up an entire wall at the site. The focus is an 11 by 13 inch replication of the original photograph. It also has all the names the museum researchers were able to identify.
The photo will remain on display until sometime in August when the next exhibit will be unveiled.
“There are 22 men identified,” Cole-Jett said. “Some of the men in the photo have more than one identification because there were multiple people claiming to be the person. I allowed the research to lead me and therefore, did not cut any names. I just kept adding to the story of the paratroopers. They are almost all from 101st Airborne, 502nd PIR.”
Cole-Jett said that while this is considered a temporary exhibit, once it is removed, the items will be stored in the archives along with the research that was discovered. She said the birthplace is important to the history of Denison because of the ties the Eisenhower family had to the area when they came to Texas in 1890.
Richard A. Todd is a reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be reached by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.