The Final Salute: D-Day Plus 75 Years

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On June 6, 1944 Bedford, Virginia lost 20 of the 32 sons it sent to the invasion of Normandy, a devastating blow to the tiny community of just over 3,200 souls. Over time, grief gave rise to solemn pride and deep commitment to ensuring the story of D-Day and its costs and consequences were not lost on future generations. That commitment, along with the distinction of sustaining the highest per capita D-Day losses, placed the monument to D-Day here rather than elsewhere in the country. Dedicated in 2001 with some 24,000 in attendance, the Memorial has since hosted hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the globe.

The Memorial’s motto – “Commemorating Their Valor, Fidelity, and Sacrifice” – places education squarely at the center of its mission and “The Final Salute,” the 75th anniversary of D-Day, promises to be the Memorial’s biggest educational undertaking yet, and its largest event since the national dedication in 2001.

“The Final Salute” combines the best of the Memorial with the best of the D-Day story: a gathering of veterans and the general public at the nation’s memorial to the invasion of Normandy for reflection and remembrance – the story of ordinary people in extraordinary moments.

The 75th Anniversary

June 6, 2019 marks the 75th Anniversary of D-Day, a milestone that is expected to represent the last large gathering of D-Day veterans around the globe. The youngest D-Day vets are in their middle-90s; a few more years will find the last of them gone from us. To mark this milestone and take advantage of the opportunities for discussion and commemoration it presents, the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia will observe the 75th Anniversary with five days of ceremonies, displays, interviews, and much more.

Our Thanks to our Partners for the 75th Anniversary Commemoration:

The Final Salute Schedule of Events

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

  • Dedication of the U.S. Naval Academy Plaque

Thursday, June 6, 2019

  • Aerial Tribute to the Veterans of WWII – 10AM

  • “The Final Salute” Commemorative Observance – 11AM

Friday, June 7, 2019

  • Regular admission and tours of the Memorial

  • Outdoor Concert and Canteen – time TBA

Saturday, June 8, 2019

  • Regular admission and tours of the Memorial
  • D-Day Parade in downtown Bedford – time TBA

  • “Tuesday Mourning” production at the Bower Center for the Arts – time TBA

Sunday, June 9, 2019

  • Regular admission and tours of the Memorial
  • Field Chapel Service at the Memorial – time TBA

  • “Tuesday Mourning” production at the Bower Center for the Arts – time TBA

Lodging Information for Out of Town Guests

Area hotels are offering special room rates June 5-9, 2018.  Please mention our event when making reservations.

Click here for links to lodging by area.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Select a Category:

Information for D-Day and WWII Veterans:

Should I register in advance?

D-Day and WWII veterans are strongly encouraged to register with the Virginia WWI and WWII Commemoration Commission. Advance registration guarantees preferred parking and seating for such veterans for the June 6, 2019 event and that the names of Normandy veterans are included in our roll call. Registration link coming soon.

Can I register on-site, day-of?

Yes, there will be on-site registration for veterans in the veterans’ reunion tent on June 6. However, you must register in advance for preferred parking. A detailed map of site activities, showing the veterans’ tent location, will be available on this website at a later date.

If I’m pre-registered, should I check in that day?

Yes, checking in helps us to get an accurate count of the heroes joining us for this once in a lifetime commemoration. It also allows us to finalize our Normandy veteran roll call list, so that we may avoid calling the names of those not in attendance.

What is the “Roll Call”?

At the conclusion of the ceremony, we will read the name of each Normandy veteran in attendance. Registration allows us to collect all necessary information to properly honor such veterans. (A Normandy veteran is defined as any veteran who served in the Normandy campaign from June 6 – August 25, 1944.)

Where can I meet up with other veterans?

A veterans’ reunion tent will open on Memorial grounds at 7:00 a.m., to provide veterans a place to gather before and after the ceremony. Light refreshments will be served. Please check back for a map showing the reunion tent location.

Visiting on June 6:

Will I need a ticket?

No, Memorial admission is free all day on June 6. Visitors are encouraged to register with the Virginia WWII Commemoration Commission, so that you may receive regular updates regarding the event.

Does registration guarantee a parking space or seat?

Only for D-Day and WWII veterans, not for the general public.

Can I take a Memorial tour?

There will be no tours available on June 6. Tours resume June 7, but regular admission fees will apply.

Is there a rain date?

The event will occur rain or shine. However, the aerial tribute may be limited or canceled in the event of inclement weather.

Are dogs allowed?

No pets are allowed on Memorial grounds. Only official service animals are permitted.

June 6 Event Times:

When do gates open and close for the ceremony?

Gate opening and closing time TBD. Please check back later.

What time does the aerial tribute start?

10:00 a.m.

When can I take a bus back to my car?

Buses will begin running 15 minutes after the ceremony’s conclusion. No buses will run during the ceremony.

What time does the ceremony start?

11:00 a.m.

What time is the roll call?

Approximately 12:30 p.m. (The annual gathering around the “Homage” sculpture will take place immediately following the roll call.)

What time does the Memorial close?

The Memorial will remain open until 9:00 p.m. on June 6.

Parking:

Can I drive up to/park at the Memorial?

No on-site parking or drop off for passenger vehicles will not be allowed.

Where do I park?

Satellite parking areas will be available with shuttles to and from the Memorial.  Shuttle schedules and location maps will be posted on this website once details are finalized.

What if I’m a D-Day or WWII veteran or am traveling with one?

D-Day and WWII veterans are strongly encouraged to register with the Virginia WWII Commemoration Commission to guarantee preferred parking and seating.  Registration link coming soon.  Veterans will receive their parking information in advance, after registering.

Is there disabled (handicap) parking?

Special parking will be available to those with a government-issued placard or plate.  A location map will be posted on this website at a later date.

What if I’m arriving with a large group?

Groups of 20 or more arriving by bus must register and will be assigned an arrival time window. This is to ensure a smooth flow of traffic around the Memorial circle.  Registration link coming soon.

Where do buses drop off/park?

We will have designated bus drop off and parking areas.  A location map will be posted on this website at a later date.  Bus operators are invited to attend the ceremony with their group.

Security:

A clear bag policy will be enforced on June 6, 2019.

What bags are approved under the clear bag policy?

Approved bags include:

  • Clear plastic, vinyl, or PVC bags no larger than 12” x 6” x 12”
  • One-gallon clear plastic freezer bag (Ziploc or similar)
  • small clutch bags, with or without a handle or strap, no larger than 4.5” x 6.5”
Can I carry more than one bag?

Each person is allowed one clear bag plus a small clutch.

Can I carry a camera, binoculars, cell/smart phone, or tablet?

Yes, so long as they are not inside bags that are not on the approved clear bag policy list.  Cameras and binoculars can be worn around the neck with a strap.

Can I leave prohibited items with someone at the gate?

No.  Please note the clear bag policy when parking and secure any prohibited items in your vehicle.  Items will not be held/stored for visitors.  Bags will be checked at parking locations.  The Memorial is not responsible for lost or stolen items.  Confiscated items will not be returned.

Where can I get a clear bag that meets the policy?

Clear bags will be available through the Memorial gift store, online and on-site.  Please check back for the link to order.  These bags comply with the clear bag policies of stadiums, so they can be used for other events.  Your purchase supports the Memorial.

Are there any exceptions to the clear bag policy?

An exception can be made for medically necessary items after proper inspection.  This is the only exception.

What items are not allowed?

The following items will be prohibited on Memorial grounds:

  • bags that violate the clear bag policy (to include purses larger than a clutch bag, briefcases, backpacks, fanny packs, cinch bags, luggage, computer bags, camera bags, and diaper bags)
  • blankets
  • chairs
  • coolers
  • pets (registered service animals are permitted as allowed by law)
  • weapons, including but not limited to:
    • firearms
    • knives

Confiscated items will not be returned.

Handicap Accessibility:

Is there disabled (handicap) parking?

Special parking will be available to those with a government-issued placard or plate.  Please see parking information with maps.

Is there handicap seating?

Yes, a seating map will be posted on this site once finalized.

Will wheelchairs/motorized scooters be available on-site?

No, individuals must provide their own mobility devices.

Site Amenities:

Is there a gift store?

Yes, our gift store will operate from two locations on-site June 6, selling 75th commemoration and other items.  The on-site gift stores accept cash and credit/debit.  Checks will only be accepted from local residents.

You can purchase items anytime through our online store: https://www.dday.org/shop/

Will food be available for purchase?

Food vendors will be open and serving throughout the day. Cash and credit will be accepted.

Do I need to bring cash?

Guests may want to bring money for food and beverage and gift store purchases.  The gift store accepts credit/debit and local checks.

Where are the restrooms?

Restrooms are located on the main plaza.  Portable restrooms will also be available.  The main plaza restrooms are equipped with baby changing areas.

Lodging:

Where can I stay in the area?

Hotels are offering special rates for 75th commemoration visitors.  Please mention our event when making reservations.

Click here for a list of hotels by area.

Commemoration Events:

What other events are planned during the 75th anniversary?

We’ve planned a full slate of 75th commemoration events.  Click here to view them all and make your plans.

Planning Resources:

Will there be updates?

Yes, we will regularly update www.dday.org/75.

Does the Memorial have an app?

The National D-Day Memorial will launch a new app with information about the 75th commemoration, a site map, memorial wall name finder, and much more to enhance your visit.  The app will be available for Apple and Android devices by searching dday or National D-Day Memorial.  Please allow push notifications to receive parking, weather, and other alerts.  Please check back for launch date.