D-Day marked one of the bloodiest battles and the biggest invasion of WWII. While it reclaimed the Nazi-occupied shores of France for the Allies and was a major step in winning the war, the huge land, air, and sea attack resulted in an enormous loss of life.
Normandy may be an ocean away, but memories of World War II still live on Long Island. Here are some of the best ways to experience the history of WWII nearby:
Hometown Heroes at American Airpower Museum
Near Farmingdale Airport, the museum features more aircraft critical to the Allies in World War II. One plane, the "Jacky's Revenge" Thunderbolt, was one of 9,000 manufactured on the same site were it sits today.
Cradle of Aviation Museum
Walk among Thunderbolts and Avengers, Hellcats and Wildcats at the Cradle of Aviation's World War II exhibit. All the planes hail from nearby factories in Bethpage and Farmingdale.
Grumman Memorial Park
Thousands of planes zoomed out of Long Island factories, none more respected than Grumman. Head out to Calverton's Grumman Memorial Park to see new and old innovations created in the factories and memorials to those who helped create them.
Amagansett and the Nazis
Did you know the Nazis tried to invade Long Island? On June 12, 1942, a submarine landed at Atlantic Avenue Beach in Amagansett with German agents carrying out Operation Pastorius. Their mission was to attack major American sites, like Penn Station in New York and Newark, Hellgate Bridge in New York, and plants at Niagara Falls and Philadelphia, among others. Thankfully the mission failed and they were discovered by a Coastguardsmen named John C. Cullen.
"Oh! How I Hate to Get Up in the Morning"
Irving Berlin's famed song was written by the songwriter while stationed at Camp Upton in Yaphank. The song was used in 1943's "This Is The Army." Camp Upton closed after World War I ended but was reopened in 1940 as troops began mobilizing for World War II. The former campsite is now home to the Brookhaven National Laboratory.
Speak with a Survivor
Listen to stories from Long Island's World War II vets like Gus Scutari. The 93-year-old Syosset man was a fire controlman in the Navy in World War II and survived a kamikaze attack while on the USS Haynesworth in 1945. Read more about Gus here.How will you commemorate D-Day? What stories do you have from family members who fought in World War II or helped manufacture war materials here on Long Island? Share your thoughts in the comments below.