June 6, 2019 marks the 75th anniversary of D-Day, when over 150,000 Allied troops landed on a 50-mile stretch of the beaches of Normandy, France. This history-making day changed the course of World War II for the Allies and is still celebrated each year in France. This year, people will travel from all over the world to celebrate the momentous anniversary in Normandy through festivals, parades, a World War II international film festival and a commemorative concert.
The village of Ellicottville, too, will be celebrating this important day through a month-long Veterans Appreciation Month in June. The celebration, sponsored by the Ellicottville Chamber of Commerce, invites all veterans to visit Ellicottville’s shops and restaurants for special deals in honor of their service.
Barb Pump, Chamber Project Development Manager, explained that the idea was brought to the Chamber by a local resident who has cultivated a strong interest in and recognition of local veterans, especially in World War II. Although there are few living World War II veterans today, their service, especially in the D-Day invasion, continues to be celebrated as generations of Americans have enjoyed the freedoms afforded by their sacrifice.
Known as Operation Overlord, the D-Day invasion was one of the largest amphibious military assaults in history and took several months of planning. Prior to June 6, 1944, the Allies created a large-scale campaign designed to mislead the Germans about the invasion location, which involved Norway and the narrow area between Britain and France known as Pas-de-Calais as possible invasion sites. However, American General Eisenhower selected Normandy and an original date of June 5, but delayed the invasion one day due to inclement weather.
By dawn on June 6, thousands of paratroopers and glider troops were on the ground in France, which was famously portrayed by the 2001 miniseries Band of Brothers. More than 11,000 aircraft were mobilized to provide air cover while 5,000 ships carrying troops and supplies traveled from England to Normandy to attack the fortified beaches. On that day, some 4,000 Allied troops were killed during the invasion, and thousands more were wounded or missing. Over the following two months, the Allied troops liberated all of northern France and by the next spring, they had successfully defeated the Germans. Today, the Normandy landings are known as the beginning of the end of the war in Europe.
Pump is excited that Ellicottville, too, is playing a part in celebrating this momentous day in history. “I think a lot of people are definitely supportive of this idea and concept,” said Pump. “I’m just glad that we can be a part of it. This is the first time that we’ve designated a whole month to honoring veterans, and we owe them so much for their sacrifice.”
Pump explained that many Chamber-member businesses are offering a variety of specials, which will be advertised in their businesses and on flyers throughout the village. Watson’s Chocolates is offering veterans a 15% discount all month long, and Cupcaked is offering a buy four, get two cupcakes free special for veterans. Restaurants, such as Villaggio, are offering dining discounts for veterans. Those interested in accommodations can enjoy discounts at places like The Jefferson Inn and Wingate, both of which are offering a discount to veterans for their stay.
Pump encourages veterans to visit Ellicottville all month long for special deals and discounts and, if possible, bring some form of identification that shows their military status. “I encourage people to check out the Chamber’s Facebook page (facebook.com/Ellicottville) for updates on participating businesses and the specials they’re offering to vets,” said Pump. To view the full listing of member businesses and learn about upcoming village events, visit www.ellicottvilleny.com.