Bedford, VA - Thousands of people made the the trip to Bedford's National D-Day Memorial to remember the 70th anniversary of the invasion.
Posted: Jun 06, 2014 10:22 AM EDT
WSET - Planning for today's event started a little more than a year ago. Crowds started filing into the National D-Day Memorial early this morning.
Among them are dignitaries from around the country, and from allied countries around the world. Representatives from France, Canada, Poland, and the British Embassy joined forces to lay wreaths around the Memorial, honoring D-Day Units. Memorial President April Cheek Messier says that it's an emotional, but exciting day for all in attendance.
"We've planning this for over a year and a half. It's wonderful that our D-Day Veterans have arrived. We have close to 300 D-Day Veterans here in attendance today. They're all excited. What a beautiful day, what a historic occasion this is to have so many D-Day veterans in one place. It's wonderful,” said Cheek-Messier.
70th Anniversary Events
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This event is generously sponsored by:
Friday, June 6 – 11AM ~ 70th Anniversary of D-Day Commemoration
The 70th Anniversary of D-Day will be observed in a special ceremony at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia. During this special event the Bedford Boys "Homage" sculpture by the late artist, Jim Brothers will be dedicated.
Program highlights include an honor guard, recognition of D-Day veterans, guest speakers, dignitaries including representatives from France, Canada, UK, and Belgium, music, and more.
The commemoration begins with a morning ceremony featuring the laying of wreaths by D-Day units. Other activities include:
* Veterans oral history stations
* A USO show featuring the 29th Division Band and a "Salute to Sinatra" at 1:30PM
* Reunion Tent * Food vendors * Displays by Living Historians
* Flyover including a P-51 and a C-47. * Parachute jump by the Golden Knights.
Deaf interpretation provided by Nathan Roberts.
Here's how you can help us while you are in town.
Download a flyer for the participating Ruby Tuesday Restaurant and 20% of your purchase will go to the National D-Day Memorial. You must give the flyer to your waitress for it to count towards supporting the Memorial. A big thanks to the Ruby Tuesday Give Back Program.
Friday, June 6th, 2014 ~ Outdoor Movie Night and Canteen
The public is invited to the Memorial for an outdoor movie night with a 1940s theme. The Canteen will offer the best of period refreshments and the featured film will be “Casablanca.” The film begins at dusk.
Saturday, June 7th, 2014 – 10AM ~ D-Day Parade
The community of Bedford will host a 1940s parade on the morning of June 7th. Antique cars, bands, veterans, living historians, and more will parade through town. At 11am, a bell will toll marking the 19 from Bedford killed on June 6, 1944. Walking tours will be available for those interested in visiting some of the more famous Bedford Boys sites as mentioned in Alex Kershaw’s award winning book “The Bedford Boys: One American Town’s Ultimate Sacrifice.”
Saturday, June 7th, 2014 ~ Tommy Dorsey Orchestra Performance
Join us at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia to hear the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra on Saturday, June 7, 2014 at 7PM. This event is guaranteed to be a fun filled night that will transport you back to the 1940s.
Advance tickets are on sale NOW!
There are a limited number of tickets available for pre-sale. If there is not a threat of inclement weather, additional tickets will be sold for $30 at the door.
Reserve yours today! Tickets are $25 per person in advance or $30 at the door.
Call 540-586-3329 to be part of this historic event to honor our veterans!
June 6-7, 2014 ~ Veterans’ History Project at National D-Day Memorial
Registration Now Closed
D-Day veterans attending 70th Anniversary events are also invited to contact the Foundation in advance to schedule an interview to have their wartime experiences recorded as part of the Veterans History Project. The Memorial is seeking oral histories from veterans of Operation Overlord and civilians on the homefront with memories of D-Day. Interviews will be recorded on DVD and housed in the archives of the National D-Day Memorial for use in educational programming. Interviews will be conducted throughout the day on June 6 and 7th, but preregistration is required. Contact the Memorial’s Resource Center at (540) 586-3329 to schedule an interview.
Sunday, June 8th – 11AM ~ Field Chapel Service
Conclude the 70th anniversary observance with an authentic WWII field chapel ecumenical service. A unique and moving experience. The service begins at 11am.
ATTENTION EDUCATORS: Operation THANK YOU!
Nov. 1 – April 1
Registration Now Closed
Operation “THANK YOU” is one way educators can get their students involved in the observance of the D-Day anniversary. The purpose of Operation THANK YOU is to have students offer messages of thanks to our WWII and D-Day veterans in highly visual formats. Educators are invited to have their students spell out “THANK YOU” as creatively as possible and submit a photograph of their results. A panel of judges will select the most creative “THANK YOU” image, which will then be used in the program for the 70th Commemoration of D-Day at the National D-Day Memorial in June 2014. The key is creativity – use the student body to spell out “THANK YOU” in giant letters on the football field, or spell it out with a collage of images from WWII. Get creative and say thanks!