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New Interactive D-Day Exhibit at the U.S. Army Airborne and Special Operations Museum Displays Romantic Parachute Wedding Dress

“D-Day: Freedom From Above Exhibit” on display at the ASOM

The U.S. Army Airborne and Special Operations Museum recently opened its new temporary exhibit titled “D-Day: Freedom From Above.” This exhibit allows visitors to experience the Normandy Invasion through the eyes of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions using Histopad, an augmented reality technology.

Among the interactive elements of the “D-Day: Freedom From Above” exhibit, visitors will also find artifacts like Mary Smith’s wedding dress.

Sgt. Eugene Deibler Jr. and his wife, Mary, on their wedding day.

Cut from Sgt. Eugene Deibler Jr.’s reserve parachute after his jump into Normandy with the 101st Airborne Division on June 6, 1944, this silk was given a second life when he mailed it home to his future bride, Mary Smith of Lemon Springs, North Carolina.

Mary made the silk into her wedding gown, promising to marry Deibler if he returned home from the war. On Dec. 22, 1945, a week after his return, the two exchanged vows, fulfilling this promise.

The dress shows an off-the-shoulder neckline, fitted waistline and delicate layers of silk skirt.

"Mary had in her mind what design she wanted and drew a pattern," said Sarah Curry (Mary's younger sister), who was 10 years old at the time. "I went with her to the fitting with Mrs. Phillips the seamstress. They had to do tiers because of narrow panels, and (the silk) had to be cut a certain way," Sarah said.

In 2010, Sgt. Deibler donated the wedding dress to the ASOM in memory of his late wife. The gift preserves the Deibler family legacy for generations to come and bookmarks their wartime romance in the annals of airborne history.

To learn more incredible stories like this, visit the “D-Day: Freedom From Above” exhibit on display at the U.S. Army Airborne and Special Operations Museum through March 14th, 2022.

The wedding dress on display at the ASOM