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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Memorial Day Weekend Concert: Saturday, May 23, 2015

Hello All,
You won’t want to miss our big Memorial Day Weekend Concert featuring the Jefferson Choral Society and the Let’s Dance Band this coming Saturday, May 23, 2015! Both bands will be performing patriotic songs that will stir feelings of celebration and commemoration for those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedoms. Guests will also be treated to the sounds of Big Band era music and a tribute to the English rock-n-roll sensation, The Beatles!

The Let’s Dance band will kick off the evening at 7:00 PM, followed by The Jefferson Choral Society at 8:00 PM. The Memorial will remain open until 10:00 PM. Tickets will be available at the D-Day ticket kiosk inside the Bedford Area Welcome Center or by phone at (540) 586-3329. Adults: $8:00 in advance or $10.00 at the door; students ages 6-18: $5.00 in advance or $7.00 at the door. Children under 6 are free. Bring your own chair. No coolers or pets and please bring cash, there are no ATMs on site.


The Beatles

Beatlemania coming to America.
The Beatles took the world by storm in the 1960s, beginning in their homeland of Great Britain and then moving to the United States. Their music was so unique, so inventive, so artistically creative people had no choice but to stop and listen to the energetic boys from across the pond.

Made up of four young men; Paul McCartney, bass, Ringo Starr, drums, George Harrison, guitar lead, and John Lennon, rhythm guitar, The Beatles created a limitless variety of sounds and harmonies not traditionally seen in rock music of the time. There classic sixties, sophisticated, smart style allowed them to set new standards for marketable and artistic success in rock/pop genres.

Despite hardships, chaos, and personal tragedy, The Beatles legacy has stood the test of time. Their music continues to inspire people of all ages and their timeless quality knows no bounds; their influence is palpable. The success of Beatlemania hit the world not once, but twice. In 2009, a release of re-mastered original studio performances opened up a completely new generation to their iconic music, selling over one million copies worldwide. Parents and their children alike have music to bond them together forever. 

I hope you will join to celebrate our veterans and the musical talents of the Jefferson Choral Society as their pay tribute to our heroes and The Beatles.

Take Care,

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

VE Day and Armed Forces 5K

Hello All,

In honor of our recent celebration of the 70th Anniversary of the Victory in Europe (VE) Day, May 8th, and this coming weekend’s commemoration of Armed Forces Day, I thought it would be appropriate to share a story I came across in the news about a 91 year old veteran who wanted to share a bit of his past with the youth of today.
Henry ‘Duke’ Boswell, 91, enlisted into the North Carolina National Guard in 1940, when he was the tender age of 16 years young. Clearly, Duke lied about his age to enlist, even going so far as to forge his parents’ signature. One year later, war broke out in Europe, and Duke volunteered to be a paratrooper for the 82nd airborne division. Duke’s life went from small town living to action packed and danger-filled in no time flat.

“We jumped in at midnight we were fighting until two days later before the troops on the beach got up to us,” stated Duke. Duke was of course referring to the Normandy Invasion of 6 June 1944. He remembers being alone once landing on the ground and having to use his cricket to identify friend or foe. (A cricket was a metal devise that made a distinct clicking sound that resembled a cricket)

 New York City citizens celebrating VE Day in Times Square
The next major battle Duke fought in was the Battle of the Bulge in the Ardennes Forest.
Duke says, “I think we probably lost more people to trench foot and frozen feet to the cold than we did to the enemy.”

Through all the hardships and horrors Duke faced, he says the worst atrocity he witnessed was the German Concentration Camps. He often thinks about what those people could have done with their lives if they were given the chance to live.

Duke’s wish is for everyone to remember the ones who fought and died to save the world we know today. We should always hold on to the memories of those who died to protect our freedoms we enjoy and hold dear, more now than ever before.


Don’t forget!!! This coming Saturday is the “We Honor Veterans” 5K Run/Walk Event to celebrate Armed Forces Day, May 16, 2015. The National D-Day Memorial and Centra-Bedford Hospice Care have come together to provide you with a fantastic morning of honoring our Veterans and enjoying the beautiful outdoors.

2014 "We Honor Veterans" 5K
Online registration, of only $25, will continue until this Friday evening, May 15 at 6 PM

Day of registration ($30) and Check-In beings at 7 AM and the Race will begin at 8 AM. The Start and Finish line is at the National D-Day Memorial- 3 Overlord Circle, Bedford, VA 24523

All proceeds will benefit veterans programs of Centra-Bedford Hospice Care and the National D-Day Memorial, both 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organizations. Individuals and teams are encouraged to sign-up and raise additional pledges to support the cause. Online registration is available at For more information, please call the main office at (540) 586-3329 or visit our website at

I hope to see you all there!

Take Care,

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Day Camp 2015

Hello All,

2014 Day Camp
Looking for a cool way to spend a hot summer day? Then join us for The National D-Day Memorial's "Growing Up in WWII" Summer Day Camp, June 24th-26th!!

If you are a 4th, 5th, or 6th grader then you are eligible to join in the festivities that make Day Camp a highlight of the year. You will be able to learn about the Allied victory in the European and Pacific theaters, celebrating the 70th Anniversary of the end of war. Come find out what caused WWII in the first place, the specific battles that took place, and the victory that changed the world. Also, learn what was happening on the home-front while our country men and women were fighting overseas.

The camp begins on June 24th through June 26th, each day beginning at 0830 and going till 1300 (1:30 PM). Students will be able to experience hands-on history with activities, crafts, period games, and ration-era snack time! They will also receive a t-shirt and souvenir!

Day Camp 2014
So, as a parent, you are asking, "What will my child gain from such an intriguing experience?" I am glad you asked!

"Growing Up in World War II" summer day camp will encourage your youngster to continue in their pursuit of knowledge and history through interactive and mindful activities. Your child(ren) will leave with a greater sense and appreciation for those of our past and present military service. At the conclusion of the wonderful camp, parents, family, and friends are invited to join us to view exhibits created by the campers, to showcase their knowledge!

Camp fees are $60.00 for the first child and $50.00 for each additional child. Fees include a camp t-shirt, craft and activity materials, daily snacks, and instruction. Space is limited, only 35 participants, and preregistration is required by June 19th. A $20.00 nonrefundable deposit is due at the time of registration.

For more information or to register, please contact the Education Department of the National D-Day Memorial by phone at (540) 586-3329. Day camp registration forms are also available online. Day Camp Event

I hope you will join us for our exciting and educational camp!

Take care,

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

This Week in History

Hello All,

Since this week in particular has so many crucial events to take place in such a short time, I thought it would be appropriate to talk about 'This Week in History' instead of just one day in history.

Clara Petacci
This week essentially marks the end of World War II for the European Theater. Years of turmoil, strife, and heartache came to a dramatic end, beginning with today, April 28.

Benito Mussolini
On April 28, 1945, while attempting to flee his country into a neutral one, Benito Mussolini and his mistress, Clara Petacci, were caught and executed while crossing the border into Switzerland. Benito knew being captured by the Allied countries would certainly mean trial and execution, so his alternative was to attempt escape.

While approaching the Swiss border, Mussolini and Petacci realized guards were waiting for them just beyond the border. To disguise themselves, Mussolini obtained a Luftwaffe coat and helmet, thinking he would sneak past with the rest of the Germans filing through. However, his plan failed and they were discovered by partisans and shot on site. The partisans transported their bodies back to Italy, where they were publicly displayed for revilement by all.

Hitler and Eva
The following day, April 29, 1945, Adolf Hitler married his girlfriend, Eva Braun. Eva was an assistant to Hitler's photographer and spent much of her time with Hitler, gallivanting around the countryside.

"Never Again" depicted in five different languages, Dachau Memorial.
Simultaneously, on this day, American troops liberated Dachau, the first established concentration camp in Germany. All of the German troops stationed there were killed within 60 minutes. The horrifying scene the American troops witnessed fueled their rage against the Germans; no prisoners were taken. 33,000 people survived Dauchau, including 2,539 Jewish prisoners; however, at least 160,000 souls passed through the main camp and another 90,000 around the surrounding camps throughout Germany. Thousands upon thousands of prisoners died of malnutrition and mistreatment alone, another innumerable amount of souls were taken to the gas chambers. A memorial was established in Dauchau on September 11, 1956.
Russian soldier amidst the rubble of the Furher's bunker.
The very next day, April 30, Hitler and Eva committed suicide by cyanide capsules, then pistol, in a swanky air-raid shelter located fifty-five feet below the chancellery. Hitler fortified his beloved bunker for the last stand Germany would make in the war, including eighteen rooms with water and electric. When it was certain the Russian Army were just days away from taking the bunker, Hitler was urged by his officers to seek refuge in the Bavarian Alps,  at one of his many homes. However, Hitler chose suicide instead; most likely expecting the very worst if taken by the Allies. Testing the efficiency of the poison on his own dog, Blondi, Hitler and Eva swallowed the pills and then shot themselves 'for good measure'. As ordered, the Fuhrer and his wife were cremated and buried in the chancellor gardens. It was not until 1956 that Hitler was officially pronounced dead.

By the end of the week, on May 2, nearly one million German troops conceded to unconditional surrender to the Allies in Italy, while Berlin fell to the Soviets, with the Russians taking over 134,000 German soldiers prisoners.
German soldiers surrendering to the Allies, Italy 1945.

Even though 'this week in history' is not a particularly cheery one, we can all agree if it were not for these events the war may have lasted a bit longer, which would have most certainly resulted in more loss of life for both sides.

Take Care,

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

On This Day: Battle of Berlin

Hello All,

Tanks rolling through Berlin
It has been a few weeks since we have explored some World War II history, so today, let's dive right back in, shall we?

As you may know, 2015 marks the 70th Anniversary of the end of World War II. Specifically, 70 years ago on this day, April 21, Soviet Forces finally breached the German High command defense during the invasion of Berlin.

This month in 1945, was the point of no return for the Germans. The Americans and British were closing in on the west, while the Soviets on the east were barreling over top of the Germans in their capital city of Berlin. By this point in the fighting, the Allied forces had all but destroyed the German regular army and all whom were left to defend their country were Hitler Youth teenagers, SS foreign volunteers, and Waffen-SS divisions. Outfitted with barely anything at all, strategically located in the city streets, these remaining Germans fought hard to ward off the Soviet Army. Needless to say, they could not defend their city properly and the Russians were able to easily roll their way into the heart of Germany.

Furher Bunker destroyed
The Battle of Berlin was the last major offensive in the European theater. For the most part, both sides knew this operation would be the last, no matter the outcome. Fighting was brutal and by April 21, the battle had been raging for over a month. A few days after breaching the heart of the city, close hand to hand combat raged through the streets. The battle continued until the end of the month. Many lost their lives during the battle, but the outcome was worth the sacrifice for the Allies. The Soviet's lost a total of over 81,000 for the entire operation, while the Germans have estimated a total between 92,000 and 100,000 killed. The exact number of civilians killed is unknown, but estimates have reached up to 125,000 during the operation. A major portion of the surviving civilians were now homeless and starving.

Until next time,

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Home-School Event: April 24, 2015

Calling All Home-Schooled Students!

Want to experience World War II history through interactive stations and living history? Would you like to participate in activities geared towards you and all your friends? Then join us for the National D-Day Memorial Home-School Event on Friday, April 24, 2015, 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM. All age groups are welcome and fees are $4.00 per person. Children under 6 are free. Space is LIMITED, please register by April 15, tomorrow, at the very latest.

For more information or to register, please contact the National D-Day Memorial's Education Department at (540) 586-3329, ext. 114.

Hope to see you all there!

Take Care,

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Prelude to Invasion: National D-Day Memorial Event

Hello All,

I hope you all had a relaxing and beautiful Easter Weekend! Spring is finally upon us; the weather is steadily getting warmer, the vegetation is blooming, warm days are here to stay! Activity is buzzing around the Memorial now that we have moved into the spring season.

If you are in the mood for an education-packed weekend, than I suggest you make a special trip to the National D-Day Memorial on April 18, 2015, 10 AM-5 PM, for our Prelude to Invasion Event! The event is for children young and old but family and guardians are more than welcome to join in the fun!

Special Announcement from our Education Director:
 “The event is designed to showcase the preparations for the Normandy landings. Omar Bradley and a Polish Living History unit will be on display; WWII veterans will be in the education tent, and several authors will be onsite throughout the day. Several stations will be set up on the site that focuses on several aspects on WWII.”

Scouts are encouraged to attend this event and will receive a discounted admission rate, at $4.00 per scout, as well as the chance to earn a special patch. Pre-registration of Scouts is required by April 10. Family members who wish to join their scouts will be charged regular admission upon arrival.

Some notable attractions include,
·         Book signings throughout the day by…
o   Bob Vandeline, Respect: Forgotten Heroes and Korea
o   Zoe Myers, We Two: A Story of War and Love
o   Thomas Carter, Beachhead Normandy: An LCT’s Odyssey
o   Franz Beisser, A time and Place and Red Solstice
·         Jeff Bush will be in attendance with our WWII Veterans
·         Interactive Living History Stations for a firsthand look at military life during the 1940s, and
·         Dave’s Dogs will be available for lunch.

For more information or to pre-register, contact the Memorial’s Education Department at (540) 586-3329, ext. 114.

This event is generously sponsored by American National and Pro Tech Fabrications, Inc.

Hope to see you all there.

Take Care,