A Glimpse into FSU's World War II Institute

By: Julie Montanero Email
By: Julie Montanero Email

Local veterans and their families commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion this morning, June 6th, in front of the Leon County Courthouse.

The stories of young men who stormed those beaches can be found down the street.

"This was a top secret map, this was given to a commander," says Director at WWII Institute , Kurt Piehler, "basically on how to do an invasion."

It's in a drawer on the fourth floor of the Bellamy Building. 70 years and 44-hundred miles from Omaha Beach.

"Someone had this in their hands or they looked at it pretty closely before they landed."

A map donated by Doug Wilkinson of Tallahassee , which was used to plan the historic D-Day invasion.

"This is D-Day before it was history," says Piehler, "when it was still very much a plan."

The map is tucked away - along with nearly half a million other maps, photos, letters and artifacts - as part of FSU's World War Two Institute. You can find everything from a collection of toy soldiers from that era.

"Mr. Ohler who gave us the collection, " says Piehlar. "He remembers the toy soldiers would win many battles against the Axis forces, originally had 50 figures but not all of them survived the war."

To letters inked on a not so soft reel of army-issue toilet paper.

Director Dr. Kurt Piehler says what makes this collection so unique is it is so personal. Lots of photographs, diaries and letters.

This one was donated by Tallahassee's Wayne Coloney - an Army tank commander - whose mother wrote to him on D-Day.

"She titled the letter on June 6th, 1944," says Piehlar. "Wayne dear and invasion day, noting really things going on the next days and weeks will be something to watch."

If you interested in touring FSU's WWII archive , you can do so by appointment.


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