Remembering June 6, 1944 - A Visit to the National D-Day Memorial

Dear Henry,

A few days ago, Fish and I headed to the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia. It's an incredible place. Let me tell you all about it.

If you remember, June 6, 1944, or "D-Day," was the day Allied troops landed on the beaches of Normandy, France, to retake the country from Nazi control, which it had acquired through invasion/armistice in 1940. It was a force of over 150,000 men from 12 countries and is history's largest seaborne invasion.

At least 4,415 soldiers died between 12:01am to 11:59pm, and on June 6, 2001, a National Memorial opened to remember them.

The Memorial was designed by the architect Bryon Dickson and built by the Coleman-Adams Construction Company. The statuary was commissioned by sculptors Jim Brothers, Matthew Kirby, and Richard Pumphrey, and the Memorial site encompasses 50 acres just outside of Bedford, Virginia.

Its central feature is stunning and represents the landing itself, and it includes a fountain system replicating the sound of bullets hitting the water. 

Arranged circularly around the central sculptures is a low cement wall with the names of all the men who died that day. The archivist who researched this herculean project is Carol Tuckwiller, and the Memorial also maintains a database of these men, which can be accessed via their website.

I have to admit that now Carol Tuckwiller is one of my heroes. I feel she is a kindred spirit (although I don't believe my work on the Everyday Patriot project will ever come close to the magnitude of her work here).

There are side alcoves dedicated to the Allied Air Forces and Navies, which provided so much support for the ground troops. The back of the Memorial contains a garden and gazebo dedicated to the various Allied commanders. There is also a Gold-Star mother's garden.  

Finally, there is a dedication to "the Bedford Boys," the local men from the small town of Bedford, Virginia, who were absorbed through their National Guard enlistment into the 116th Infantry Regiment. 20 of these men were killed during D-Day, which was a devastating loss to the 4,000-citizen town of Bedford. 100 other Bedford, Virginia men would die during WWII.

There is also a great gift/book shop, and the Memorial offers regular guided tours.

The entire place was incredibly moving, and I can't recommend the visit enough. It is open daily, 10am to 5pm, and costs $12.00.  

You can check out my YouTube video tour here:

xoxo a.d. elliott


a.d. elliott is a wanderer, writer, and photographer currently living in Salem, Virginia. 

In addition to the travel writings at, you can also read her book reviews at and US military biographies at

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