WWII Paratrooper and Navy Region Commander Recognize 76th Anniversary of D-Day

On Saturday, June 6, World War II paratrooper Tom Rice and Commander Navy Region Southwest Rear Admiral Bette Bolivar will ring the Liberty Bell at Naval Air Station North Island for the 76th anniversary of D-Day. The event will occur globally at 6:44 p.m. (local time) to symbolize June 6, 1944. The Freedom Rings initiative will begin in Normandy, France and will be carried out through the world.

Local Coronado native Tom Rice was attached to the 101st Airborne Division, 501 Parachute Infantry Regiment known as the “Screaming Eagles”. Rice parachuted into Normandy, France on June 6, 1944 to help liberate France from Nazi Germany. In 2019, for the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, Rice parachuted into Carentan, Normandy in the same drop zone as he did on D-Day. Rice was 97 years old then.

“Freedom Rings around the world is important,” said Rice. “It reminds us of the sacrifices made on D-Day.”

Patrick Fissot and Nicholas Bellee of the Normandy Victory Museum started the Liberty Bells commemoration, arranging for Liberty Bells to ring across France. A local group of ardent supporters named “Team Tom Rice” expanded the movement by creating the #FreedomRingsGlobal initiative for Liberty Bells to ring worldwide at 6:44 p.m., (in their respective time zones) on D-Day. The initiative is to support “Les Clochers de la France” - Vive la France! America Forever!

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