The National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA

Continuing on with the road trip that I took from Boston to Nashville, and back, this month for a conference! Starting from the beginning…..

A Quick Tour through Virginia
Snippets of Civil War in Knoxville

Nashville’s Civil War History at Fort Negley
Nashville’s Centennial Park
Some of Nashville’s Military Burial Places
Old Salem

The Booker T. Washington National Monument

While driving through Virginia on my way out to Nashville, I saw a sign for the National D-Day Memorial. Well you know what a sucker I am for all things history, so this seemed like it would be right up my street, and a “must see” attraction.  Since there was no mention of how many miles away it was, I took the  exit and stopped to grab a coffee and estimate the detour time. I discovered that it was about a 45 minute drive away. Sadly I couldn’t fit an extra few hours into that particular day.

On my way home, however, I drove much the same route, and when I once again came upon the sign, I decided to go for it.  It was only late morning, and I could easily fit an extra 3 hours into my travels – yes it would mean I’d be getting to my hotel late that evening, but that really wasn’t a problem. I had no idea when I might be out in that area again in a car, and I wasn’t about to miss out on the opportunity to visit now. Getting to the hotel late seemed like a small price to pay.

And was I glad I decided to make the trip! The National D-Day Memorial is simply breathtaking.

It’s not just “a monument” – the place is huge – a whole series of monuments that depict the timeline of events at that time.

The memorial is also set within fabulous grounds, with a beautiful English-style garden at the back.

You need at least an hour to do any justice to the place, so don’t just try and swing by for 10 minutes, or you’ll be very sad to have to leave so quickly! And to add to its beauty, it’s located on the top of a hill, with the Blue Ridge Mountains as a backdrop. A wonderful location to soak up all the history.

Although I’m a history buff and tend to be slightly biased about places like this, I can honestly say that I think this memorial should be on everyone’s bucket list of places to see. Everyone should make the trip, not only to see this beautiful memorial, but to pay a small tribute to those who gave so much for us during WWII.

And in the center of the memorial grounds is an oval arrangement of plaques that list the name of every one of the 4,413 Allied soldiers who died in the invasion. Very poignant to see.

Go and visit whenever you get a chance – if you’re not somewhat local to the area, it’s a little off the beaten track, but I promise you will not be sorry that you made the trip. It’s located in Bedford, VA because this was the town that suffered the highest losses per capita on D-Day. And even though there’s been some controversy over that claim, who cares! It doesn’t need to be proven or disproven – Bedford clearly lost a relatively large number of soldiers that day, as did many other regions of the country. What matters is that we have a monument like this in the first place. And the location is just beautiful. Very fitting!

I had the added benefit of absolutely glorious blue skies when I was there. The memory of my visit will be hard to fade. I can’t wait to go back one day with M, I know he’ll love it.

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3 responses to “The National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA

  1. Very cool. Thanks for posting this – I’m adding it to my list of places to see. Always good to see well done reminders of our history.
    How far is it from Civil War places of interest?
    And, as always, great pictures!

    • Oh this was the highlight of my trip, I really loved it. A very humbling place. I suspect the Appomattox Court House National Historical Park might be the closest Civil War site – it’s about 20 miles east of Bedford. I’ve never visited it, but it sounds like somewhere I’d enjoy.

  2. Pingback: A Quick Stop in Allentown | THE RECOVERING BRIT

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