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Anacapa Students Honor ‘The Boys Who Stormed Normandy’


Anacapa School
Lia Millar, a junior at Anacapa School, greets Art Petersen, who was a U.S. Army paratrooper on D-Day. (Anacapa School photo)

Anacapa School has a long history of honoring veterans. On every Veterans Day, our school is in session to take advantage of community events honoring veterans and to be able to invite speakers onto our campus to share their experiences as veterans with our students and teachers.

Two men who have made numerous appearances at Anacapa in the past were honored last Thursday by the Pierre Claeyssens Veterans Foundation, in collaboration with the Channel City Club, for their service 70 years ago as paratroopers, who dropped in behind enemy lines during the D-Day invasion of Normandy.

With many of the surviving veterans of D-Day traveling to Normandy to attend the celebrations on June 6, this local event was held on May 8 because of its significance as Victory in Europe Day (May 8, 1945).

Art Petersen and Bob Forties, along with Frank Johnson and Sal Perez, were honored in "The Boys Who Stormed Normandy" ceremony at Fess Parker's DoubleTree Resort. Consul Generals from Belgium, Canada, and France and a Special Representative from the U.K. each gave moving speeches thanking the United States in general and the four honorees in particular for their service to save Europe from the scourge of Adolph Hitler’s attempt at world domination.

Anacapa School gives special thanks to the Pierre Claeyssens Foundation for inviting all of our students and teachers to attend, free of charge, the celebratory and highly educational luncheon. The honorees were very happy to have our youthful audience there to hear their stories, and our students were rapt with attention.

In 2009, Anacapa School’s digital media class, known as Digital Voyage, produced a short World War II retrospective and film interview of Petersen and Forties. This exceptional film was made by Dillon Yuhasz (Anacapa Class of 2009), who is a recent graduate of UCSB and a current history teacher at Anacapa School. We brought it out of our archives to send to you to honor the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion. In it, Petersen and Forties share their personal stories of bravery, which are quite moving and truly inspirational.

Anacapa School thanks The Greatest Generation for their service and sacrifice!

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