Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Unknown D-Day Memorial

Because it is June, the anniversary of D-Day, I have to give this a plug.  Hubby (who is a former Army Ranger) and I ventured out a few weeks ago and ended up in Bedford, VA (which lies in the middle of nowhere, east of Roanoke, south of Lynchburg), and went to the D-Day Memorial.  We were expecting a nice monument, a few statues, some flags, that sort of thing.

We were blown away when we actually got there, to the Memorial.  It is HUGE, awe-inspiring, a work of art.  Any history buff, WWII afficiando should make the trek.  It is WELL WORTH IT and you can see some of the other sites near-by including Natural Bridge (will save that for another day), Popular Forest (Thomas Jefferson's "other" home, which will also save for later), The Peaks of Otter (just off the Blue Ridge Parkway) and the many sites in Roanoke, not to mention the two virtually unknown J Crew outlets (not factory stores) in near-by Lynchburg.

The Memorial is not doing well from what I understand and they need monetary support and visitors; you have to want to get to Bedford.  Another interesting tidbit, why did they put the Memorial in Bedford?  Because more soldiers were killed on D-Day from Bedford than any other city, per capita.  The movie "Saving Private Ryan" is based on one of the solidiers from Bedford.  And there is a great book (which I am currently reading), called "The Bedford Boys."  And there is also a documentary film (although I did not think it was very good).

Take a look at some of these photos of the monuments.  I can't tell you how impressive it is.  If your dad or granddad was at D-Day or even just in the War, a donation in their name to the Memorial would make a wonderful Father's Day gift.  My husband's dad was in fact at Omaha Beach, but not on the first day when the slaughter really took place.  How these people sacrificed for our country and others is just beyond belief.  And we just forget over time, what happened, and how things were during the War.  We need to remember or we need to learn about it before all of the Veterans are gone.

A photo of Bedford's Company A, the National Guard Unit that was the first to land at Omaha Beach and suffered so many casualties. 

Another photo of the Memorial:

Since our visit a day does not go by that I don't think of how many lives were changed forever during the War.  It really is worth the trip to Bedford.  Enjoy your Thursday!

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