BELMAR, NJ — The D-Day battle that inspired the riveting opening scene in the movie, “Private Ryan,” is the focus of a Belmar Historical Society program on Tuesday, June 11 at Taylor Pavilion.
To commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day, military historian Paul Zigo will talk about his latest book, “The Longest Walk,” which recounts the 29th Infantry Division’s landing on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France, on June 6, 1944. Although one-third of the 3,200 soldiers lost on D-Day were part of that division, their subsequent hard-fought maneuvers led to the capture of St. Lo in France — 40 agonizing days later.
A noted expert on World War II history, Zigo will explain how the division’s exploits enabled Operation Overlord to succeed, leading to the ultimate defeat of Nazi Germany.
Zigo is founder and director of the World War II Era Studies Institute, which is dedicated to furthering knowledge and understanding of the WWII era and its impact on history.
In 2009, he authored and edited “Witnessing History: The Eisenhower Photographs,” featuring all the photos of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower taken by his personal wartime photographer, Al Meserlin. He was also executive producer and narrator of the cable network series, “Triumphant Spirit: America’s World War II Generation Speaks from 2001 to 2004.”
A 30-year Army veteran retiring as a colonel, Zigo is a graduate of Temple University and the U.S. Army War College.
Belmar Historical Society is sponsoring the free program “to remember and learn of the tremendous sacrifices made by those in the armed forces, true heroes that should never be forgotten,” said Spencer Heulitt, president of the all-volunteer group.
It will be held at 7 p.m. at Taylor Pavilion, located at Fifth and Ocean Avenues. After the presentation, light refreshments will be served.
Belmar Historical Society is a not-for-profit organization that is dedicated to saving and preserving the history of Belmar and to promote history through educational programs.
Its museum, located at 900 E Street in the annex of the Union Firehouse, is open to the public every Monday from 2 to 4 p.m., every Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon, and the second Saturday of each month from 1 to 3 p.m., or by appointment.
In addition to offering museum tours and conducting research, the group welcomes the public to join its ranks, attend free Belmar history classes and learn to serve as a docent to give museum tours.