Portlanders will gather on the Eastern Prom on Thursday morning to mark the 75th anniversary of D-Day and remember the Mainers who took part in the 1944 allied invasion that began with the landing on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France.

Participants will honor those who served by laying a wreath and reading the names of the 83 Mainers who served and are now buried in Normandy Cemetery in France.

Former Maine Rep. Herb Adams organized the event and will speak. Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce and Steven Bromage, director of the Maine Historical Society, will each read a portion of the names.

“(The day) is near and dear to my heart because my dad is a World War II veteran,” Joyce said. “He talked about (serving), and it is an honor and privilege to commemorate history and honor those who served.”

Portland has many connections to the war, and specifically to D-Day. In 1944, thousands of American troops left the Isle of Portland in the English Channel en route to the Nazi-occupied beaches of Normandy. Today, that island is home to a D-Day visitor center that will be active with re-enactments and ceremonies this week.

Portland’s commemoration ceremony is free and open to the public and will begin at 10 a.m. at the USS Portland Mainmast Memorial in Fort Allen Park on the Eastern Promenade. The event is sponsored by the Harold T. Andrews Post #17 American Legion and the Veterans Foreign Wars Post 6859 Portland.

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