Getting Ready For D-Day (part 1)

Good morning, everyone! 
British Glider Units Preparing for D-Day
We are getting close – just one week away – from the 70th Anniversary of D-Day!  We are busy, busy here around the site making sure everything is ready to go for the big day.  Over the next few days, we will bring you just little tidbits of information to prepare for D-Day.  I want to introduce our guest blogger this week Mr. Daniel Cordes.  Daniel is a graduate student from Liberty University who is interning at the Memorial this summer.  Over the last few weeks, he and other interns have been busy researching and creating exhibits which will be on display on June 6th.  Below is just a little taste of what you guys can look forward to seeing on June 6th.  See you there!  

June 6, 2014 is the 70th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Normandy, codenamed Operation OVERLORD, at the D-Day Memorial located in Bedford Virginia.  We will be hosting a ceremony that will honor the men who fought and died for our country and helped to ensure the fall of Hitler’s evil regime. We will have several exhibits on site along with the sites own impressive collection of statues and plaques that describe the events that occurred prior to, during, and after D-Day.
C-47 Skytrain with Invasion Stripes
Some of the highlights to look out for during this important anniversary are the dedication of a new statue on the west side of the Memorial. The statue will commemorate the Bedford Boys and pay homage to them and their sacrifice. This is an important piece for the memorial, as the memorial is located in Bedford due the fact that Bedford lost more people per capita than any other city or town in America. The days events will also include Veteran Oral History Stations, a USO show featuring the 29th Division Band and a ‘Salute to Sinatra’ at 1:30 PM, Displays by Living Historians, Flyovers by a P-51 and a C-47, and even a Parachute jump by the Golden Knights. All this and more will be showcased during this historical event.
One particular display that we here at the Memorial are looking forward to sharing are our displays commemorating the efforts of all the service branches – Army, Navy, and the Air Force as it existed then. Today, we will be sharing a bit of the research we have conducted on the Air Force. First, of all the display will not be focusing solely on the efforts and exploits of the fighters and bombers that participated on D-Day, but also on those exploits of the Airborne units, and even the incredibly brave men that were part of the glider divisions.
Pre-Invasion Bombing Run at Pointe du Hoc
Today, we will be focusing a bit on the bombers and what they did prior to D-Day. Most people would agree that the planning and preparation for any event or action is the most important part of any event, for without preparation and planning any event would be thrown into chaos, whether it be a birthday party or even the largest amphibious assault in history. The bombers role on D-Day was not to be their traditional role of strategic bombing, in which the heavy bomber crews had become accustomed to performing. The allied air commanders resented and fought against the suggestion that their forces be used to strike tactical targets, and even suggested that the heavy bombers and their crews could not achieve the accuracy that tactical bombing required. Training and practice would prove otherwise as the bomber crews demonstrated that they were indeed capable of achieving the accuracy requirements that Allied Command expected of them. Unfortunately, on D-Day the weather was poor so bomber accuracy suffered accordingly.
To learn more about the bomber role on D-Day and the other elements of the Air Force be sure to stop by on Friday June 6, 2014 for this and other displays.
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