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Date with History Lecture

The Dead and Those About to Die: 80 Years Later

Le Jardin
Friday, September 6, 6 pm
Free with paid parking

In the year of D-Day’s 80th anniversary, join acclaimed historian John C. McManus for a special Date with History. He will discuss his defining work on the 1st Infantry Division’s harrowing D-Day assault on the eastern sector of Omaha Beach.

Nicknamed the Big Red One, the 1st Division had fought from North Africa to Sicily, earning a reputation as stalwart warriors on the front lines and rabble-rousers in the rear. Yet on D-Day, these jaded combat veterans melded with fresh-faced replacements to accomplish one of the most challenging and deadly missions ever. As the men hit the beach, their equipment destroyed or washed away, soldiers cut down by the dozens, courageous heroes emerged: men such as Sergeant Raymond Strojny, who grabbed a bazooka and engaged in a death duel with a fortified German antitank gun; T/5 Joe Pinder, a former minor-league pitcher who braved enemy fire to save a vital radio; Lieutenant John Spalding, a former sportswriter, and Sergeant Phil Streczyk, a truck driver, who together demolished a German strongpoint overlooking Easy Red, where hundreds of Americans had landed.

Along the way, McManus explores the Gap Assault Team engineers who dealt with the extensive mines and obstacles, suffering nearly a 50 percent casualty rate; highlights officers such as Brigadier General Willard Wyman and Colonel George Taylor, who led the way to victory; and punctures scores of myths surrounding this long-misunderstood battle.

“The Dead and Those About to Die” draws on a rich array of new or recently unearthed sources, including interviews with veterans. The result is history at its finest, the unforgettable story of the Big Red One’s nineteen hours of hell—and their ultimate triumph—on June 6, 1944.

Purchase Parking

VIP Cocktail Reception

$60 (includes parking), 7:30 pm, McCormick House
After the lecture, mingle with historian and author Dr. John McManus at an exclusive cocktail reception inside McCormick House. Engage in continued discussion, ask questions, and delve deeper into John’s presentation. Don’t miss this enriching opportunity with a renowned expert. Drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be served.

VIP Registration

About Date with History

The First Division Museum’s Date with History series, now in its 17th year, features presentations by authors, historians, documentarians, and veterans on a variety of military history topics. Visit Cantigny or attend online to connect with these experts in a lecture and Q&A format.