MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — 79 years ago, 150 thousand Allied troops landed at Normandy on D-Day. Many of them were mere teenagers.
Phil Fravel is from the American Military Heritage Museum in Stephens City, Virginia. Each year, he hosts a homecoming for area military veterans from all conflicts.
Fravel says there will be reenactors from many different conflicts, some representing soldiers from other countries. There’ll also be a Stuart Tank.
Every year, he says World War II veterans come out to the museum which is located off Exit 307 of I-81.
He’s hoping for about a half dozen to be on hand for this year’s Veterans Reunion and tenth annual museum open house and living history event. It’s set for Saturday, June 10th from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. rain or shine on the grounds of the museum. Some of them will be available to chat with visitors:
The museum building, which is usually open by appointment or for school groups, will be open and available for visitors to peruse a large collection of memorabilia from varying branches of the military and different wars.
He says being around the artifacts sometimes prompts stories from the veterans that they may have never shared before:
There will also be a chance for veterans to have their stories recorded, according to Fravel.
In a previous appearance on Panhandle Live, Fravel said the Shenandoah Valley played a big part in World War II.
“Vincent Corsini – he was one of two survivors of Company I, which was a Winchester-based National Guard Unit before the war. (He) told me recently his birthday his birthday is July 4th and he turned 20 just weeks after D-Day, so he was 19 when he hit the beach.”
Fravel said the community banded together on the home front during the war.
“The textile mills in Martinsburg and Winchester that produced fabric, blankets and other material for the war effort; the Red Cross chapters that knitted sweaters and (made) toiletry kits for soldiers.”
More information about the event can be found on the American Military Heritage Museum Facebook page.
The museum is located at 811 Fairfax Pike (Rt. 277) in Stephens City, Virginia.
Phil Fravel was a guest on the May 31st edition of Panhandle Live. You can hear his full interview here.