color: SOME SOLDIER'S MOM: National D-Day Memorial -- A National Treasure!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

National D-Day Memorial -- A National Treasure!

On the drive between Blacksburg and Norfolk, Virginia, just off US-460 is the small town of Bedford, Virginia. This town lost more soldiers per capita on D-Day than just about any other town in America. Bedford, which is about 100 miles from the nearest large city, is tucked in the green magnificence of the Blue Ridge Mountains: surrounded by all of God's "mountain majesty". Bedford is also home to the National D-Day Memorial... stunningly beautiful, well crafted, reverent to the sacrifices and achievements of June 6, 1944. We had never heard of the Memorial, but it was the best 1-mile detour we have ever taken.

Others will blog today on the operational facts of D-Day and the meaning of D-Day and its (obvious) significance to the outcome of the war -- all of which the D-Day Memorial covers in detail -- but I will share the moving experience the National D-Day Memorial provided. Every regiment, battalion and division from every country that participated on D-Day on every one of the beachheads -- Juno, Omaha, Gold... is celebrated in a series of plaques -- and one for every destroyer, transport, carrier... and hundreds of brass plaques emblazoned with the names of every American killed on D-Day... and busts of the planners and leaders who saw the Allies to and through that horrific and eventually victorious day.

The National D-Day Memorial is set on 20 magnificent acres that contain a huge amphitheater with a mock of the Omaha landing with brass bodies strewn in water while air jets loudly spray the staccato sounds and effects of machine gun fire through the water... as a soldier pulls a buddy through the surf, one lies dead nearby and a trio of Marines struggle up the side of a netted hillside. All immortalized and honored in this Memorial. It is spectacularly landscaped with lush lawns and abundant trees and flowers... and benches and other places to sit and reflect... and perhaps remember those that were lost. When we were there, we saw a number of people shedding tears while running their hand over the name of a loved one on a plaque... and a message left in the guest book, "I miss you, Dad."

This privately founded and funded memorial is on the verge of bankruptcy -- many reasons -- cost, early mismanagement, maintenance... and Virginia legislators are planning to introduce legislation in the US Congress to turn this Memorial over to the US Parks Dept. I urge each of you to drop a quick note to your Congressperson and/or Senator drawing their attention to preserving and protecting this VERY deserving memorial. Or you may give a donation to save this Memorial at the National D-Day Memorial Foundation's site. Having been to the WWII Memorial and The Vietnam War Memorial, I assure you that the National D-Day Memorial is on par with those in its scope, its beauty and its message. We are a Nation of Memorials and Museums and this is a most important reminder of a Momentous day in our and the world's history.

I urge if you are anywhere near Bedford, Virginia please take the drive and visit this memorial -- and if you can't decide where to visit this summer, visit the D-Day Memorial and take the old folks and the kids along -- you will be so very glad you did!

the setting

the great arch is emblazoned "OVERLORD"

the names of the American fallen...

preparing for the 65th Anniversary


honoring vessels...

scaling the cliffs
On June 6, 1944, 150,000 Allied soldiers clambered aboard heaving landing craft and braved six-foot swells, waves of machine gun fire, and more than 6 million mines to claim a stretch of sand at a place called Normandy. Their mission was to carve out an Allied foothold on the edge of Nazi-occupied Europe for the army of more than one million that would follow them in the summer of 1944. This army would burst forth from the beachhead, rolling across Europe into the heart of Germany, liberating millions, toppling a genocidal regime, and ending a nightmare along the way. But it all began on this beach in France, with an army of teenagers on a day called D-Day.

on the beach

leave no man behind

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At 6/04/2009 7:20 PM , Blogger Becky said...

great pics! thanks for sharing! i've been following your blog for awhile now, but just restarted my own blog. now i can actually post comments! i hope you're enjoying your road trip. congrats on your daughter's graduation!

At 8/10/2009 11:47 PM , Blogger Matt34 said...

Hi there, I am Matt, preparing for ccna program. This is the Post man, bravo. Nice pics Specially the joker one, truth is bitter men. You rocks.


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