JEFFERSON BARRACKS, MO (KTVI)– Today marks 69 years since the D-Day landings in Normandy. Many Americans who died in the invasion are buried in France.
It was a Navy group holding a ceremony at Jefferson Barracks 2 years ago, who noticed a flat, weathered headstone with 17 names on it.
They recognized them as members of the Army’s 101First Airborne Division who died during the D-Day battle.
In 1944, allied forces invaded France, beginning the drive to break the German occupation of Europe. One hundred sixty thousand allied soldiers took part. A small group from the 101 First Airborne Division, known as the Screaming Eagles were preparing for their drop into enemy territory. But their Army Air Force C-47 was shot down. Their remains were originally buried in France, along with about 9,000 other Americans, but in 1952 the remains were shipped to Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery.
Today, the Missouri Gateway Chapter 101st Airborne Division Association held the first D-Day ceremony at the mass grave site 61 years after 17 brave Americans were buried here.
The Missouri Gateway Chapter 101st Airborne Division Association says four veterans from the Army’s 101 First Airborne Division who participated in the D-Day invasion still live in Missouri. One lives in St. Louis, one in O’Fallon, one in Springfield and one in Cameron.
The chapter plans on making the D-Day ceremony at Jefferson Barracks an annual event.