Las Vegas Elks Lodges #1468 Commemoration of the 75th Anniversary of the Normandy, France D-Day Landings


By: Su Phelps and Megan Way | Photos by Su Phelps & Lawrence Oravetz
The Las Vegas Elks Lodges #1468 to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Normandy, France D-Day Landings, held their first D-Day Ceremony on Thursday, June 6th, afternoon. Mr. Bob Reese, trustee of the Las Vegas Elks Lodge #1468 is liaison between the French Legion of Honor and the local Las Vegas veterans.
The Normandy landings were on Tuesday June 6th, 1944 of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord during World War II. It was the largest seaborne invasion in history. The operation began the liberation of German-occupied France (and later Europe) from Nazi control and laid the foundations of the Allied victory on the Western Front. The Allies failed to achieve any of their foals on the first day. Carentan, St. Lo, and Bayeux remained in German hands Caen, a major objective, was no captured until 21st July. However, the operation gained a foothold which the Allies gradually expanded over the coming months. German casualties on D-Day have been estimated at 4,000 to 9,000 men. Allied casualties were at least 10,000, with 4,414 confirmed dead.
Almost four hundred people arrived and gathered at the Las Vegas Elks Lodge #1468 on June 6th, afternoon including World War II veterans, French Legion of Honor recipients and elected officials Congresswoman Dina Titus, World War II veteran, Former Nevada Governor and Senator Richard Bryan, representatives from Senator Jacky Rosen and Congresswoman Susie Lee office. Introducing every speaker up to the stage was the Master of Ceremonies Nelson Sardelli, a Las Vegas entertainer. Nellis AFB Honor Guard/The Police and Fire Emerald Society Bagpipes performed the presentation of colors.
William Dunsmore, a 2018 French Legion of Honor Recipient in rank of knight the highest award France presents to their citizens and foreign nationals and a Purple Heart Recipient (from his work in Omaha) led everyone in the pledge of allegiance.
Carnel Johnson the Vegas Golden Knight’s popular national anthem singer, affectionally known as “Golden Pipes” sang the U.S. National Anthem and Morgane Latouche sang the French National Anthem. Laura Shaffer brought songs from the 40’s to everyone.
Speaking at the stage were guest speakers Sébastien Thévenin, The French Honorary Consul for Southern Nevada, Mark Hall-Patton Administrator Clark County Museum and Stephen Nasser a Concentration Camp Survivor, with his experiences he wrote his book My Brother’s Voice. Stephen Nasser was thirteen years old when the Nazis took him and his family away from their home in Hungary to Auschwitz. Nasser’s story is telling of the vivid memory of his terrifying experience and his love for his brother Andris. If you’re interested in the book go to for more information. The veteran with the highest rank in the room, Retired Brigadier General Ashley Hall, spoke about General Eisenhower, and how he became a five-star General.
The ceremony closed with a playing of Taps from T.A.P.P.S., a moment of silence and closing remarks by Bob Reed.