BEDFORD, Va. (WFXR) — After several months of planning and preparation, the D-Day Memorial reopened June 10.
The memorial implemented numerous precautions ahead of reopening. Hand sanitizing stations were installed, employees routinely wiped down areas, and plexiglass barriers were set up at the ticket booth at the entrance to the memorial. Before COVID-19 restrictions were put in place, tickets for the memorial were sold at the Bedford Welcome Center.
“We reopened June the 10th, and we spent a lot of months preparing for reopening. We wanted to make sure everything was safe for our visitors, for our staff and our volunteers.”April Cheek-Messier – President, National D-Day Foundation
During the time the memorial was shut down, crews had time to fix infrastructure issues and give a lot of attention to the grounds to get them looking their best.
“Oh … It’s a beautiful sight. Yeah, we’re glad we came.”Robert Marrow – Memorial Visitor / Charlottesville Resident
Representatives for the National D-Day Memorial say their virtual tours and lectures have done very well. On June 6, the Memorial usually holds an annual D-Day commemorative ceremony on-site, which typically welcomes 1,000 to 1,500 visitors. This year they couldn’t hold such a large event due to the pandemic, so they held it online.
“We did a virtual ceremony, and what was really wonderful about that was that normally we would have 1,000 visitors, or 1,500 or so on-site for that event. We had over 43,000 people watch that event virtually.”April Cheek-Messier – President, National D-Day Foundation
The National D-Day Foundation will continue its virtual lectures and other virtual events while the site itself is open, therefore offering a virtual visit for the viewing-public from far away, as well as locally, whether that be online or in-person.
Starting Wednesday, July 1, when Phase Three of reopening begins, the D-Day Memorial will open the gift shop as part of the memorial’s gradual reopening.
On Saturday, July 4, the memorial will be opened for regular business hours. Free admission will be offered to veterans throughout the weekend.
April Cheek-Messier, President of The National D-Day Foundation, tells WFXR they are continuing to monitor the Commonwealth’s recommendations when it comes to COVID-19 restrictions. The next big event planned for the D-Day Memorial is slated for Veterans Day in November.
For more information and to keep up to date on planned events at the National D-Day Memorial, check out its Facebook page.
The Town of Bedford will be celebrating Independence Day fireworks on Friday, July 3, but the D-Day Memorial will not be open that evening. People are asked to find a safe spot to view the fireworks at another location.
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