D-Day Plus 73
Event Date: 2 June 2017 17:00 to 03 June 2017 22:00
There will be plenty of sailors and their gals swing-dancing at USS LST 393 Veterans Museum as part of the big “D-Day Plus 73” commemoration co-sponsored by Rolling Thunder Michigan Chapter 4 veterans support group. It’s all part of a June 2-3 weekend of fun, food, flying and a chance to honor those who served and sacrificed.
Also on tap will be the exciting “Air Raid Muskegon,” where World War II reenactors fire hundreds of blanks at authentic Warbirds to “defend” the historic warship. The popular Pin-ups for Patriots will conduct a family-friendly 1940s fashion show. Dozens of reenactors will display uniforms, weapons, vehicles and their knowledge of the roles of those who served in World War II.
It’s also a birthday party. LST 393 turns 75 this year, and a special display will be unveiled during the weekend. It was an 11-year-old shipbuilder executive’s daughter who christened LST 393 on the day the warship was “born,” and as a birthday present this year, Lucy Sorenson Pape has sent the beribboned neck of that champagne bottle she smashed against the bow in 1942
Friday night’s “Swing Dance” starts with a beer judging contest that runs 5-8 p.m. It features home brews from the Muskegon Ottawa Brewers Club. The dance steps off 7-11 p.m. and swings to the sounds of the Reeths-Puffer High School Jazz Band. Tickets are $10 for a single and $15 for a couple.
Everything is free Saturday (except the food). The day kicks off with a Northside Lions pancake breakfast starting at 8 a.m. The morning will include a motorcycle “honor ride” that any vehicle is welcome to join. It will escort the Michigan Vietnam Wall to the D-Day site.
“We’ve got a lot to see and do for the whole family, endless displays of America’s best, free museum tours and a whole tent full of fun for kids,” said David Johnson of Rolling Thunder. “It’ll be a great day for everyone in Muskegon.”
At about 11 a.m., the opening ceremony will feature the posting of the colors by Marine Corps League Detachment No. 703 and the National Anthem performed by the 126 Army Band “The Governor’s Own” from the Michigan National Guard.
The opening will include a “rechristening” ceremony with a dedication of the precious fragment of the champagne bottle used in 1942 to launch LST 393.
The displays will be highlighted by “combat” demonstrations by dozens of World War II reenactors, men and women dressed in authentic military uniforms of all services and carrying authentic weapons. That will include a number of “enemies,” dressed and armed as Axis soldiers. And on display will be a number of World War II-era vehicles including halftracks, trucks and Jeeps.