NEW ORLEANS – On May 8, 1945, World War II in Europe came to an end. As the news of Germany’s surrender reached the rest of the world, joyous crowds gathered to celebrate in the streets, clutching newspapers that declared Victory in Europe. Anne Relph recalls witnessing the scene as she arrived in New Orleans on a train with her grandmother: “People were literally dancing in the streets. They were singing and jumping in and out of fountains. It was like Mardi Gras, and just this incredible sense of relief that part of our war, anyway, was finished.”
As V-E Day is commemorated and the anniversaries of D-Day and V-J Day approach, The National WWII Museum’s plans are underway to honor the men and women who fought for America’s freedom. Reaching beyond the iconic images of V-E Day exuberance, the Museum will take a closer look at the events surrounding this meaningful occasion, offering lectures and ceremonies that commemorate the end of the war in Europe.
“This anniversary is deeply meaningful, as it marks the beginning of the end of World War II,” said Museum President and CEO Gordon H. “Nick” Mueller. “Although the war still raged on in the Pacific, V-E Day came to represent hope – for our troops and our nation – that final victory was within reach.”
From May 6 through May 8, the Museum will present public programs that pay homage to the Grand Alliance’s great triumph, including accounts of General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s experiences told by his grandchildren. On the 70th anniversary of V-E Day, the programming will feature speakers who recollect receiving the news, footage from 1945 newsreels, and historians reflecting on the legacies of Victory in Europe. *
In addition to historical anniversaries, the Museum is also on the cusp of a major milestone: the 15th anniversary of its founding on June 6, 2000. The Museum’s humble beginnings remain pertinent as the institution continues to carry out an ambitious expansion plan, recently installing a pedestrian bridge that connects the Museum’s Louisiana Memorial Pavilion – home to the original D-Day Museum – with the rest of the six-acre campus.
This December, Campaigns of Courage: European and Pacific Theaters will reach completion with the launch of Road to Tokyo: Pacific Theater Galleries. The exhibition hall’s newest exhibits will trace the journey from Pearl Harbor to Tokyo Bay, examining the logistical challenges, fierce battles and range of extreme conditions that confronted troops in this vast theater of war. Throughout the galleries, artifacts will connect visitors to the intense struggle, featuring uniforms, personal effects and an authentic restored P-40 Warhawk – bearing the distinctive markings of the Flying Tigers. A new exhibit on the Merchant Marine is also scheduled for completion in December.
V-E DAY 70th ANNIVERSARY EVENTS
Wednesday, May 6, 2015 – H. Mortimer Favrot Orientation Center
“1945: The End of the War in Austria” by Guenter Bischof
Noon – 1 pm
Thursday, May 7, 2015 – US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center
“Eisenhower The Liberator: A Panel Discussion” featuring the Grandchildren of Dwight D. Eisenhower
5 pm Reception | pm Presentation and Q&A
Friday, May 8, 2015 – US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center
V-E Day Ceremony & Program
11 am – Noon
Friday, May 8, 2015 – Battle Barksdale Parade Ground
Living History Corps and Artifacts from the War in Europe
Throughout the day
For more information, call 877-813-3329 or 504-528-1944 or visit www.nationalww2museum.org.