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Granddaughter of Ike Eisenhower leads Bangor celebrations

THOUSANDS of World War Two veterans descended upon Bangor at the weekend as the grand- daughter of Dwight D Eisenhower led Ulster's VE Day celebrations.

THOUSANDS of World War Two veterans descended upon Bangor at the weekend as the grand- daughter of Dwight D Eisenhower led Ulster's VE Day celebrations.

Mary Jean Eisenhower made the long journey from Kansas City in the US to oversee the renaming of Bangor's North Pier to Eisenhower Pier, in honour of her grandfather.

It was from Bangor that General Eisenhower addressed some of the first D-Day troops departing for France, and later with the words "from here started the long hard march to allied victory".

Ms Eisenhower was invited to attend the ceremony after North Down Borough Council made the decision to rename the pier earlier in the year.

Speaking ahead of the event, she said: "My grandfather didn't talk much about many of his travels and was very quiet about that particular period of his life, but I know this is something he would have been extremely touched by."

During the day, Ms Eisenhower had the opportunity to meet and speak with some of the Northern Irish veterans who fought in the Second World War.

"I was really looking forward to meeting the veterans; that was a real privilege because we owe them a lot," she said.

"It is very important that we remember the sacrifices they made and that people now are told about the war. I believe one of the responsibilities we have is to let the next generation know as much as possible so that something like that will never happen again, particularly in light of this week's attacks in London.

"I know people say we should move on, and while you don't want to live in the past, we must never forget that period in history so that we can learn from it."

The celebrations continued on Sunday with an interdenominational service in Bangor Parish Church, followed by a garden party at Bangor Town Hall. Music was provided by the John Miller Orchestra, led by the nephew of Glenn Miller, who entertained troops during the war with his Army Air Force Band.


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