Telling the story of D-Day one brick at a time

Julia LeDoux
December 02, 2019 - 12:15 pm

Reagan Legacy Foundation

Michael Reagan, son of President Ronald Reagan, believes that veterans – especially those who landed at Normandy, France on D-Day --  should be honored daily and not just on Veteran’s Day.

With that in mind, the Reagan Legacy Foundation has begun the Walkway to Victory memorial brick program at the Airborne Museum in Sainte Mere Eglise, France.  

The number of living D-Day veterans declines each day, Reagan said, and the bricks engraved with their names are a tangible way to honor and remember their service and heroism.

“When they’re gone, they’re gone,” he said. “So, how do you remember them?”

The foundation began laying the bricks in the museum’s existing walkways last year. Sainte Mere Eglise was the first French town to be liberated from Nazi control by American forces on D-Day. 

“You ought to see what happens when a paratrooper goes in there and sees his name,” Reagan said. “They just cry because they are being remembered.” 

Reagan noted that his father was the first American president to visit Normandy on the anniversary of the D-Day landings. That visit came on the 40th anniversary of the landings in 1988. 

Reagan D-Day
Reagan Legacy Foundation

“Since he started it, now every president goes to Normandy on D-Day,” Reagan said.

Michael Reagan formed the Reagan Legacy Foundation as a way to honor his father’s commitment to education, democracy, and peace. 

President Reagan enlisted in the Army Reserves in 1937, but eyesight problems prevented him from serving overseas during World War II. Instead, he transferred from the Calvary to the Ist Motion Picture Unit, which produced more than 400 training films for the Army Air Force by the end of the war. 

Reagan said The Walkway to Victory educates people about World War II and lets them see history in person. The goal of the program is to recognize as many D-Day vets as possible, he said.   

Proceeds from the brick sales are earmarked for education programs supporting USS Ronald Reagan sailors and their families. Sailors who serve on the ship are eligible for $1,000 scholarships while their family members at home can receive a $2,000 scholarship. To support the effort, visit the website. 

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