On Aug. 30, 1945, Urbana native Lt. Gen. Robert L. Eichelberger and a detachment of 11th Airborne Division troops were the first Americans to step foot on mainland Japan following the Japanese surrender on Aug. 15, 1945.
To commemorate this event, exactly 75 years later to the day, on Aug. 30, 2020, at 2 p.m., Ward Lutz, Champaign County Historical Society volunteer and author of the Daily Citizen feature “Then and Now,” will present a program at the Champaign County Historical Society Museum on the remarkable background and achievements of Gen. Eichelberger during this period.
Champaign County native Russell Arnold, Staff Sergeant, who was stationed in Japan at this time, interacted with Gen. Eichelberger on multiple occasions. Arnold still lives in Champaign County and will be on hand during the presentation to elaborate on these interactions with the general as well as answer questions on what it was like to be in Japan during this transformative time in history.
Due to social distancing requirements, capacity for this program will be limited to 30 attendees. Because the event is expected to be well attended, current Champaign County Historical Society members will be given seating priority; specifically, no non-member will be seated until 15 minutes before the start of the program if it appears capacity will be reached by members.
Persons attending together may sit side-by-side while single attendees will be seated six feet apart. A temperature check will be performed at the door. Masks will be required.
Submitted by the Champaign County Historical Museum, a not-for-profit organization that depends upon donations and dues to preserve, protect, archive and display the artifacts that tell the Champaign County story. The free public museum, 809 East Lawn Ave., Urbana, is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesdays-Fridays; and 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays.