National D-Day Memorial

June 30, 2010 at 8:22 am 2 comments

On Sunday, Ryan and I stopped by the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia. Bedford is a small town near the Blue Ridge Parkway and doesn’t seem like the most likely candidate for a national memorial. The planners, however, paid attention to every single detail. The memorial’s location is no coincidence.

On the morning of June 6, 1944, 30 men from Bedford landed on Omaha Beach. By the end of the day 19 were dead. Bedford is a small town now and it was a small town then. With a wartime population of 3200, Bedford suffered the highest per capita loss that day.

You couldn’t ask for a more gorgeous spot than Bedford– perched at the top of a hill, the memorial has great views of the mountains, including the Peaks of Otter.

National D-Day Memorial - Overlord Arch and Peaks of Otter
Peaks of Otter Between the Overlord Arch

I think this is the most well-thought out structure I have ever visited. Every detail was chosen for a reason. A plaza separated into five parts represented the five landing beaches. A peaceful garden was actually in the form of the SHAEF seal. Hidden above a statue of Eisenhower was a replica of the map they used for planning. Marble in the form of Higgins Boats. Bathrooms that looked like pillboxes. A fountain reminiscent of the scattered gun fire at the beaches. Even the aesthetics of the Overlord Arch were selected to match the stripes the Allies had on their planes.

National D-Day Memorial - Plaza and Plane
View of the Plaza– Separated in Fve sections for the Five Beach Heads

National D-Day Memorial - Valor, Fidelity and Sacrifice by Overlord Arch
Valor, Fidelity and Sacrifice

National D-Day Memorial - Beach Head, Higgins Boat From Front
Beach Landing Fountain – Complete with Sporadic Water Sprays Reminiscent of Gun Fire

National D-Day Memorial - Higgins Boat and Soldier
Marble Higgins Boat

National D-Day Memorial - SHAEF Gardens from Sword Tip
SHAEF Garden – That’s Part of the Sword from the SEAL

National D-Day Memorial - Eisenhower and Tedder
Eisenhower and Tedder

National D-Day Memorial -Eisenhower with Map
Hidden Above Eisenhower – An Invasion Planning Map

National D-Day Memorial - Overlord Arch Inspiration (Portrait)
Inspiration for the Overlord Arch

Like I said, the planners of the memorial thought of everything, including traveling pet owners! Pets aren’t allowed on the monument, but the National D-Day Memorial has a shaded area with crates and water bowls for your pets to wait. That allowed Jimmie and Henry to sit back and get attention from the gift shop staff, while Ryan and I took in the sights.

National D-Day Memorial - Jimmie and Henry in Shade (Far)
Jimmie and Henry Wait in the Shade

More pictures of the National D-Day Memorial can be found on my Flickr site.

Entry filed under: Blueridge Parkway, D-Day, Virginia.

“Penn Compare”: Falls Ridge On Hitting It Over the Fence

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Matt  |  June 30, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    Damn! I’ve been to VA a zillion times, and I’ve never seen that. My dad and I definitely have to check that out one of these days.

  • 2. Vicky  |  July 4, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Matt– it is definitely worth a visit. It’s in the Southwest section of Virginia… somewhat near Roanoke.


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