Dunkirk will honor and remember the remarkable effort to help its namesake city in France after WWII with a celebration in August.
On Saturday 28 August, the SociÃ©tÃ© historique de Dunkerque will sponsor a celebration of the 75th anniversary of Dunkirk at Dunkirk Day. Events will include exhibits at the museum, short speeches by the city historian and others, food trucks, the film screening “Dunkirk” at dusk and more.
Dunkirk to Dunkirk Day was the effort of the people of Dunkirk to provide goods and donations to the city in France, which New York City is said to have been named after because its port geographically resembled the port of the European city.
Dunkirk, New York, raised between $ 75,000 and $ 100,000 – in today’s money, an amount equal to $ 1,073,381 to $ 1,431,175.
The day was spurred on by Charles Lafayette Todd, a native of Dunkirk who had served as a public relations officer in the military during the war, and became director of national advertising for the American National Relief Campaign for France at the end conflict. He was thinking of an event that “Capture the imagination” ordinary people in America was needed, “a symbolic gesture which will bring out the national media and will challenge all”.
Todd suggested his hometown for the event, citing its working-class nature, its adoption of the French town name, the presence of a port and fishing industry in both towns, and the presence of industries in next to the vineyards.
His group agreed, and after much preparatory work by Todd and others, donations poured in before the event of November 29, 1946.
The French Ambassador to the United States was present, as were the French, British and Canadian military attachÃ©s based in Washington. Leaders of French veterans groups appeared and reporters from Life, Time, Newsweek, Associated Press and CBS radio, among others, covered the festivities.
The day’s events included a breakfast at the Shorewood County Club, ceremonies at Memorial Park, the presentation of a plaque forged in a Dunkirk foundry to the French Ambassador, and student performances at the auditorium of the high school. There was also a mile-long parade of gifts in Dunkirk, France from around 100 organizations.
Dunkirk was showered with goodwill and praise from national newspapers and magazines, and from Eleanor Roosevelt, who praised Dunkirk in her weekly column, “My day.”