LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - June 6, 2019 is the 75th anniversary of D-Day and big plans are in motion to honor World War II veterans in Louisville.
“Next week will be a very important celebration for us to honor, remember and educate everyone in our community about the special price that was paid for our freedom,” veterans advocate and Democratic candidate for Kentucky Secretary of State, Heather French Henry, said. “It’s never too late to say thank you. In fact, many, many, many years from now we’ll still be saying thank you.”
More than a hundred vets will be honored at an event called Operation Bravo Zulu, which means "job well done."
Calling it the largest gathering of WWII veterans in Kentucky history, Honor Flight Bluegrass is on a mission to make Operation Bravo Zulu an event for all generations.
“There are only about 400,000 WWII veterans left in the United States,” Honor Flight Bluegrass Chairman Jeff Thoke said. “There are about 3 or 4,000 left in Kentucky. Time is of the essence.”
In 1944, 6,600 Americans were killed or wounded in the Allied invasion of Normandy.
Seventy-five years later, American WWII vets are passing away at a rate of 348 a day -- and there are still many stories to be told.
Veteran Ernie Micka of Louisville will be attending. At 101 years of age, he still has vivid memories of fighting in Africa, Sicily and across Europe to the very end of the war.
"We could have been in Berlin, but our orders were to sit and wait for the Russians,” Micka said with some disappointment. “So that we did and that ended the war.”
At ceremonies scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday, June 6 at Louisville Memorial Auditorium, the greatest generation will be honored for their service and given the chance to share their experience.
Tickets can be purchased online from Honor Flight Bluegrass and Louisville Memorial Auditorium.