BELTON — This year marks the 70th anniversary of the landings on the Normandy coast of France by the allied forces.

To commemorate the turning point of World War II, the public is invited to attend the Bell County Museum’s D-Day observance at 6 p.m. June 6. This event is free. No reservations are required, but seating is limited.

“The event commemorates the extraordinary events surrounding June 6, 1944,” Stephanie Turnham, museum director, said.

Retired Col. Renita Menyhert will present a special program entitled, “One Paratrooper’s Journey into D-Day.”

Menyhert is a retired military feature writer and broadcaster emphasizing in soldier human interest. She covered stories from World War II to Iraq and Afghanistan. Her many broadcasting and journalism awards include recognition as the best feature writer in the Army Material Command for 10 consecutive years.

Turnham said event attendees can expect to experience “the amazing story of courage strength, and wise decisions made by a couple of young medics.”

Menyhert will have a silk parachute wedding dress on display. The dress was made by Margaret Writsel, the fiancé of Bob Wright, a medic with the 101st Airborne Division. Wright parachuted into Normandy on D-Day and contributed to saving the lives of 80 individuals over the three days of the landing.

“You can’t believe the story behind this dress,” Turnham said.

‘Our Lives, Our Stories’

The Bell County Museum also looks forward to the opening of a new exhibit entitled “Our Lives, Our Stories: America’s Greatest Generation.”

“Born in the 1910s and 1920s, these people were decisively shaped by the Depression and World War II. They went on to make the ‘baby boom’ and shape the economic boom of the postwar era,” Turnham said. “Today — well into the 21st century — we are all living with their legacy. But who are these people upon whom the title of ‘greatest’ has been bestowed?”

An opening reception will be held at 2 p.m. June 14. The event is free and open to the public, and refreshments will be served. Exhibition will remain on view through Aug. 11. The exhibition begins with the babies of the 1910s and 1920s, and then explores the human impact of events that marked major turning points in their lives, including the Depression, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, World War II, the rising awareness of civil rights, and the growth of media-driven consumer culture during the post-war boom.

For more information, call 254-933-5243. The museum is at 201 N. Main St. in Belton.

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