Houstonians honor veterans on 70th anniversary of D-Day

By Ryan Korsgard - Reporter

HOUSTON - Veterans took part part in a ceremony Friday at Battleship Texas as Houstonians honored veterans on the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.

A new exhibit called "Battleship Texas" is open at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. It includes a flag that flew over the battleship on D-Day and has not been seen in 70 years.

"By the time D-Day happened, Texas was already an older battleship. She was not a frontline ship any more although she was being moved into the frontline by virtue of being dispensable...imagine that," said Dr. Dirk Can Tuerenhout, Curator of Anthropology at HMNS. "She was older and the Allies decided she would be a target for German gunners to shoot at her rather than shoot at the line of ships...keeping them safe."

A spokesman for the museum said, "The show highlights the history of the Battleship Texas in service to the United States Navy through World War II and showcases 60 artifacts of the only surviving U.S. Navy vessel to have seen action in both world wars. Objects on view include a never-before displayed flag from the ship and a shell that hit the vessel but did not explode, plus select pieces from the silver service presented to the battleship by the people of Texas, historical photographs and personal items from men who served aboard the Battleship. A special listening station shares crew member memories of service aboard the Battleship during World War II."

The museum is also showing "D-Day 3D: Normandy 1944." It is narrated by Tom Brokaw and explains what happened on June 6, 1944.

On board the Battleship USS Texas Friday, the Consul General of France presented the medal of "Chevalier de la Legion d' Honneur" to 30 American World War II veterans.

Veterans say they want younger generations to remember the sacrifices of so many on D-Day 70 years ago.

"I would like them to know why we did it and to appreciate the fact that it was done," said veteran Jay Burke, of Friendswood. 

He was in the Army's 99th Infantry Division at Camp Maxey in Texas preparing to go to Europe on D-Day.

"It wasn't a cake walk. If it happened again, I think each and every one of us would do it even though we're old and feeble, we'd give it a try," said Burke.

The Battleship Texas exhibit at HMNS is open through Nov. 16.

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