Bedford (Virginia) is about a 12-mile drive off the Blue Ridge Parkway via route 43 from the Peaks of Otter. This is where I recently visited the National D-Day Memorial. The community of Bedford suffered the highest per capita losses in the Nation during the Invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. This is why the National D-Day Memorial is located in Bedford. Company A of the 116th Infantry assaulted Omaha Beach and nineteen brave young men from Bedford lost their lives.
The memorial is humbling and chilling. Sitting on 88 acres, at the center is a tall arch with “Overlord” inscribed at the top with a reflecting pool and bronze statues symbolizing the soldiers perilous task of storming the beaches. The names of our United States’ losses appear of the West Wall of the Plaza with the Allies’ losses on the East Wall. During the tour, we learned about the sacrifice, the politics and operation.
The National D-Day Memorial was and emotional experience for me as my grandfather was at the Invasion of Normandy. I greatly suggest you make the ride to visit the National D-Day Memorial. Visit the site via one of the links in this post. As well, you might want to read about the Bedford Boys in Alex Kershaw’s book, The Bedford Boys : One American Town’s Ultimate D-Day Sacrifice.