Friday, June 6, is D-Day +70. This turning point in World War II (the invasion of France established the all-important "second front" and Hitler's Reich was destroyed 11 hard-fought months later) has remained a vivid memory for those who lived through that era (see the film Saving Private Ryan if you want to know why). So there will be commemorations around the country, but nothing like the full-fledged mock invasion of Chicago's Montrose Avenue Beach, mounted for the 50th anniversary in 1994.
The mastermind behind it was, of course, an Oak Parker, Kenneth Plummer, a retired colonel and co-chair of the Chicago World War II Commemoration Committee, who specialized in planning large-scale operations. In addition to approximately 500 re-enactors wading ashore from landing craft, the invasion included a bombardment with an actual Navy frigate, the USS Estocin firing very large (and loud) blanks. Earplugs were dispensed.
It was quite the spectacle.
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