Saturday, May 27, 2017, my wife, Marlene, was honored by the Columbus Chamber of Commerce for her support of the Utah Beach Higgins Memorial located at the Utah Beach Museum in Sainte-Marie-du-Mont, France. The memorial has been placed in the spot where a gap was blown open by U.S. Army Rangers on the morning of June 6, 1944, also known as D-Day. This memorial includes statues of WWII soldiers, a replica of the Higgins Boat and Columbus Nebraska’s very own Andrew Jackson Higgins.
Mr. Higgins was born in Columbus, Nebraska, attended schools in Omaha and served in the Nebraska National Guard before relocating to New Orleans where he founded Higgins Industries. His vision and creation of a shallow-draft ship, the Higgins Boat, changed the course of history. The vessels were used to transport men and equipment safely to beaches during amphibious landings. General Dwight D. Eisenhower called Higgins, “The man who won the war for us.” He went on to say, “If Higgins had not designed and built those LCVPs (Landing Craft, Vehicle, Personnel), we never could have landed over an open beach. The whole strategy of the war would have been different.”
Our sincerest thanks to the Columbus Chamber of Commerce and it is our honor to remember our veterans who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom.