Lunchbox Lecture Series

Join us for the 2020 Lunchbox Lecture Series on select Thursdays throughout the year.

All lectures are free, although donations are appreciated, and located at the Bedford Area Welcome Center (directions located in map to the right) unless otherwise noted. Guests are welcome to bring a lunch to enjoy during the programs.

If you are not able to attend, each lecture is also available in real-time and following the event through Facebook Live. Follow our Facebook page to stay up to date on lectures and other events

Thursday, January 23, 2020 at Noon

“Going to the Movies”

Jim Triesler, Director of Education, Virginia War Memorial

“Yes, we have swell movies here.  Tonight I saw, “Here Comes the Waves,” with Bing Crosby and Betty Hutton.  It was swell.  I laughed an awful lot in it.  What do you mean you’ll take me to a show in ‘46 or ‘47?  You better be home before that or I’ll have to talk to the Admiral about it!”  This quote is from a letter to Al Miller, from his sweetheart Marion, written on February 8, 1945.  It provides a glimpse into life on the home front while loved ones were away at war for the duration. Hollywood films provided entertainment and comfort, plus served as a distraction while the United States was involved in World War II.  Using letters, diaries, magazines, newspapers, and interviews, this session will focus on the experience of going to the movies between 1939 and 1945.  Which films were the most popular?  How were the movies advertised?  What role did Hollywood play in supporting the war effort? Come learn about the movies. You will go home feeling “swell!”


Thursday, February 20, 2020 at Noon

“The Forgotten Rosies: African American Women in WWII”

April Cheek-Messier, President & CEO, National D-Day Memorial Foundation

During the course of World War II, over 600,000 African-American women joined the American labor force to defeat tyranny abroad.  Yet these women were mostly overlooked in the war time industry.   Images of “Rosie the Riveter” have framed historical perceptions that distort the contributions of black women on the homefront by failing to acknowledge their service.  In an effort to do their part for the war effort, African-American women encountered racist policies, low pay, and often the most undesirable occupations. Some industries refused to hire them at all.  In spite of this, African-American women gained invaluable lessons and strength that would reveal itself in acts of resistance against segregation in the years to follow.  During the war, African-American women found a collective spirit that enabled them to challenge the future and create better life for themselves and those who would follow.


Thursday, March 26, 2020 at Noon

“One Woman and 150,000 Men: The Story of Wartime Correspondent Martha Gellhorn on D-Day”

Maggie Hartley, Associate Director for Programming and Events, National D-Day Memorial Foundation

“I followed the war wherever I could reach it.” From the Spanish Civil War to Panama, Martha Gellhorn covered most major conflicts in her 60-year career as a wartime correspondent. She is also the only known woman to have landed as a part of the invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944, but not because of an official assignment but her desire to cover war—and maybe to get back at her husband, Ernest Hemingway, for stealing her job. Discover how her marriage and work intertwined in World War II to give her the distinction of being the only woman among 150,000 men on D-Day during this riveting lecture.


Thursday, April 23, 2020 at Noon

“The Lost Soldier: The Ordeal of a WWII GI from the Home Front to the Hurtgen Forest”

Chris Hartley, WWII Historian and Author

The Lost Soldier offers a perspective on World War II we don’t always get from histories and memoirs. Based on the letters home of Pete Lynn, the diary of his wife, Ruth, and meticulous research in primary and secondary sources, this book recounts the war of a married couple who represent so many married couples, so many soldiers, in World War II. The book tells the story of this couple, starting with their life in North Carolina and recounting how the war increasingly insinuated itself into the fabric of their lives, until Pete Lynn was drafted, after which the war became the essential fact of their life. Author Chris J. Hartley intricately weaves together all threads—soldier and wife, home front and army life, combat, love and loss, individual and army division—into an intimate, engaging narrative that is at once gripping military history and engaging social history.

Thursday, September 24, 2020 at Noon

Topic and Speaker Information Coming Soon!


Thursday, October 22, 2020 at Noon

Topic and Speaker Information Coming Soon!