Veterans Honored at Bong Center for the 75th Anniversary of D-Day
One special veteran who grew up in Germany during the war attended with his grandson.
DULUTH, Minn. – The ones who stormed the beaches of Normandy by air and by sea, which turned the tide of World War II, were honored at the Bong Center in Superior by veterans and everyday people.
“That was the end basically of the Nazis and we wanted to be able to honor them and show a little bit of respect for what this day means because it is such a big event,” said Hayes Scriven, the director of the Richard I. Bong Veterans Historical Center.
In the crowd for the flag raising and taps, was a man named Heinz Winterscheidt, who was a child in Germany during the war.
He brought his grandson with him to make sure the next generation remembers the importance of June 6, 1944.
Winterscheidt still vividly remembers how World War II was a part of every day life as a child.
“Everything destroyed, bombs, everything destroyed, machine guns, that was normal for us kids. I could not tell him this is normal but that was our life,” said Winterscheidt, who immigrated to the United States in the 1970s, and joined the US Air Force Auxiliary.
The children in Germany found out about the allies in Normandy over the radio and quickly realized they were there to save them.
“Us little kids we learned already that what this means when the allies come over and it did not take long after that when they came over we got food,” remembered Winterscheidt.
Winterscheidt also told a story of getting to know one American soldier in particular when he was nine years old in the aftermath of the war.
A G.I., a soldier sitting on the cannon on top of a tank and playing harmonica and we little kids…I was one of them, learned playing harmonica,” said Winterscheidt.
His experience is just one of millions from the war, and as those who remember the war first-hand are leaving this earth as the years go on.
It’s important to hear their stories, just like the Bong Center works tirelessly to do.
“People come in and see the new D-Day paratrooper we have at the center, giving people time to reflect and remembering what this day is all about,” said Scriven.
The Bong Center is located at