Gov. Edwards honors Louisiana veterans during visit to D-Day battlefields in Normandy as Economic and Resilience Mission comes to an end – L’Observateur

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Governor Edwards honors Louisiana veterans as he visits the D-Day battlefields in Normandy as the Economy and Resilience Mission comes to an end

Published 2:56 PM Friday, August 12, 2022

NORMANDY, France — Today Governor John Bel Edwards begins the final leg of his week-long economic and resilience mission, visiting sacred World War II battlefields and paying tribute to military veterans of Louisiana. Battle sites the governor will visit include the crossing town of Sainte-Mère-Église, the D-Day landing zone at Utah Beach and Pointe du Hoc, where Army Rangers scaled an imposing cliff in search of a German gun battery.

The mission concludes on Saturday with a trip to Omaha Beach, scene of some of D-Day’s most intense fighting. At the Normandy American Cemetery, Governor Edwards will lay a wreath at the grave of a Louisiana soldier who died during the Battle of Normandy. After a brief ceremony, the delegation will visit the graves of other Louisiana soldiers buried there.

“It is a humbling experience to follow in the footsteps of brave soldiers who did their duty, faced tyranny and, in many cases, made the ultimate sacrifice in the cause of liberty,” said Governor Edwards. “I am honored to represent all Louisians here in Normandy as we honor those members of the U.S. military and their allies whose courageous actions secured the blessings of freedom we still enjoy today.”

On Thursday, Governor Edwards visited Pegasus Bridge, where the first shots of the D-Day invasion were fired, and recalled Louisiana’s unique contribution to the Normandy invasion. On June 6, 1944, tens of thousands of Allied soldiers secured a strategic base on the beach after being brought ashore from shallow-draft “Higgins boats” manufactured in the New Orleans shipyards. This epic battle helped turn the tide of war in Europe.

Exactly 56 years later to the day – on June 6, 2000 – today’s National World War II Museum was opened in New Orleans. Today, the museum is a major economic engine for Louisiana, with annual revenues in 2021 exceeding $70 million and supporting more than 400 direct and indirect jobs. Walter J. Leger III, Executive Vice President and General Counsel of New Orleans & Company, accompanied the Louisiana delegation to Normandy and joined Governor Edwards to raise awareness of the massive museum expansion and the currently ongoing $400 million sharpen capital campaign.

“New Orleans is hailed around the world as a hub of creativity and innovation, and this mission has enabled us to increase visitor numbers to Louisiana, renew our ties of friendship and commercial partnership with the people of France, and foster which is one of the premier museums in America,” Leger said. “With the continued development of memorable exhibits and technological marvels, the National World War II Museum continues to be a source of great pride to the city, state and country. We are excited for the opportunity to work with Governor Edwards to shine a spotlight on this extraordinary New Orleans institution in the global marketplace.”

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