BEDFORD, Va. (WFXR) — The National D-Day Memorial in Bedford plans to commemorate the 77th Anniversary of D-Day with three days of virtual and on-site events.
The commemorative weekend will kick off with a virtual panel discussion on Friday, June 4 at 1 p.m. with three renowned historians: John McManus, author of “The Dead and Those About to Die;” Joe Balkoski, author of “Beyond the Beachhead;” and Mitchell Yockelson, author of “The Paratrooper Generals.” Their discussion will center on various elements of the invasion, the impact of D-Day, and why it remains relevant today.
On Saturday, June 5, the National D-Day Memorial will host a series of activities on-site for visitors. Events include a book signing by award-winning author and filmmaker Rick Beyer, writer, producer, and director of the film The Ghost Army; music throughout the day by the 29th Division Band; historical displays; tours; children’s activities; and a D-Day Memorial tour of the Necrology Wall by John Long.
The Memorial is also expecting special guest veteran Luciano “Louis” Graziano, who was part of the third wave on D-Day on Omaha Beach. He is the last known witness to the German surrender which ended hostilities in Europe in WWII.
Visitors can also view the new Bob Slaughter exhibit at the Memorial. Slaughter is considered the best-known D-Day veteran in America by the time of his death in 2012. In 1989, Slaughter and like-minded colleagues established the National D-Day Memorial to keep alive the memory of what happened on June 6, 1944, and to “provide an enduring reminder of the price that must be paid for freedom.”
“We wanted to highlight Bob’s story and his mission to get the Memorial built,” said Foundation President, April Cheek-Messier. “This June marks an important year as we commemorate the twentieth anniversary of the Memorial’s dedication in 2001.”
At 10 a.m. on Sunday, June 6, the D-Day Memorial will host an in-person ceremony with D-Day veteran guests and a wreath-laying ceremony at the sculpture Homage.
A documentary-style video that traces the early beginnings of the monument has been produced by the memorial and will premiere on Sunday at 11 a.m. It can be viewed on the National D-Day Memorial’s Facebook page, YouTube channel, and website.
For more information on these events, visit www.dday.org.