South St. Paul D-day celebration honors WWII veterans and keeps history alive

D-day lasted from June 1944 to August 1944 and resulted in the allied liberation of Western Europe from Nazi Germany's control. About 156,000 American, British and Canadian forces landed shore side along a 50 mile stretch of France's Normandy region. The invasion was among the largest military assaults in history and required extensive planning.

South St. Paul's Spring Swing Big Band Hangar Dance is about honoring World War II veterans and keeping the history alive.

Saturday night's Spring Swing Big Band Hangar Dance attracts 1940's costumes and swing dancing, but is really all about honoring all veterans. The annual fundraiser helps the commemorative air force educate current and future generations on what life was like in World War II.

"Young men were coming back from that awful war and we flew them back into the country and boy were they glad to see an American girl on those flights." World War II veteran, Shirley Westlie said.

Nostalgia was easy to find inside the Fleming field airport in South St. Paul during the fundraiser.

The 71st anniversary of D-day: the beginning of the end of World War II, which ultimately resulted in the liberation of Western Europe from Nazi Germany's control.

"I volunteered at the age of 19 to get into the Army Air Corps. & I got my wings on the 20th of September in 1943." World War II veteran, Chuck Frost said.

On the wing of the commemorative air force are a variety of aircrafts including, the B25 bomber- also known as, "Miss Mitchell."

"The crew chief on it came from Lakeville. When the war was over he helped in the restoration he got the artists that did the original Miss Mitchell based in Corsica so it's as close to the original Miss Mitchell that you can get. "Wing commander, Bill Tischer said.

The annual fundraiser is a place where World War II veterans can reflect.

91-year-old Shirly Westlie shared memories of her time in the navy waves.

"It brought the women out of the kitchen and out into the world and it opened a lot of doors and a lot of eyes."

"I'm very lucky to have been able to serve."


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