College of the Ozarks is sending 20 students, along with World War II veteran Hall Duncan, to Normandy from June 2-13 as part of the Patriotic Education Travel Program. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings along the Normandy coast during World War II.

During this trip, participants will visit various sites of World War II in London, Normandy, Brussels and Amsterdam, including numerous military sites and cultural museums.

This trip will mark the College’s 11th tour to Europe, but it is the 24th Patriotic Education Travel Program trip, with previous tours representing World War II, Cold War, Korean War and Vietnam War. The trip is under the direction of Bryan Cizek, director of patriotic activities.

“This is the 75th anniversary of the invasion of occupied France and the last major anniversary to have men who actually served in that operation to be in attendance for the ceremony,” Cizek said. “Our students realize the significance of the trip and this anniversary. It will be up to them to pass on the history of those who served and to tell their stories.”

Trip participants for the 2019 Normandy Patriotic Education Travel Program trip include Matthew Weathermon, a senior double-major hailing from Marionville, as well as 19 other students from around the state and surrounding area.

Sponsors of the trip include:

Bryan Cizek, director of patriotic activities David Dalton, professor of history Col. James Schreffler, assistant professor of military science Cpt. Caleb Dunnam, instructor of military science Lt. Alex Williams, instructor of military science Rick Hughes, vice president for vocational programs and chief financial officer, and wife, Elizabeth Hughes Lori Vanderpool, clinic administrator and patriotic travel nurse, and husband, Kent Vanderpool

About Hall Duncan

Duncan served as a private first class in the 101st Infantry Regiment of General George Patton’s Third Army and was shot in November 1944 by a sniper as he carried a wounded American soldier to safety from the fighting near Guebling and Bourgaltroff near the German border. Duncan says he was one of the few survivors of his military company from the battles near Guebling and Bourgaltroff.

Nearly 70 years later, in 2011, U.S. Representative James Lankford pinned Duncan with his bronze star and purple heart, during a ceremony at the Oklahoma History Center.

In addition to the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, he received the Good Conduct Medal, American Campaign Medal, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal with two bronze service stars, World War II Victory Medal, Combat Infantry Badge 1st Award, and Honorable Service Lapel Button -- World War II. He received the French Legion of Honor Medal in France in 2013 due to his service on French soil.

After the war, Duncan, who was born in Oklahoma City, eventually returned to Oklahoma. Now in his mid-nineties, Duncan retired from the University of Central Oklahoma after teaching cartooning, illustration and advertising design for 17 years. He earned his doctorate in education with an emphasis in cross-cultural communication at the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa. After retiring in 1986, he became a full-time cartoonist, writer and illustrator. Duncan has been published by Cambridge University, the New Readers Press in Syracuse, New York, and many other notable publishing houses.

In June of 2012, Duncan was one of the seven Veterans who traveled to Germany, Poland, Austria, Slovakia and the Czech Republic with College of the Ozarks. He currently resides in Edmond, Oklahoma.

About College of the Ozarks

College of the Ozarks is a private, Christian, liberal arts college, located in Point Lookout, Missouri, on a 1,000-acre campus. Christian values, hard work and financial responsibility comprise the fundamental building blocks of the “Hard Work U.” experience. The College earns numerous accolades yearly, including No. 1 Most Innovative School in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report for 2019 and No. 1 Best Bang for the Buck by Washington Monthly. To achieve its vision, the College pursues academic, vocational, Christian, patriotic and cultural goals. These goals are mirrored in School of the Ozarks, a laboratory school that completes the K-college model.