BEDFORD, Va. (WFXR) — A local organization is expressing their sadness after the loss from the fire that destroyed the old Bedford Middle School.

The National D-Day Memorial Foundation President April Cheek-Messier released the following statement:

“We are deeply saddened to see such an iconic structure in our community succumb to a devastating fire. The old middle school was an important cornerstone for generations in our community including some of our very own “Bedford Boys” who spent many hours within its walls. Leslie Abbott, John Clifton, Frank Draper, Earl Parker, Weldon Rosazza, John Schenk, Elmere Wright, and Grant Yopp were among the Bedford Boys who attended the high school and were later killed on D-Day. The class of 1944 erected a plaque on the grounds of the school to commemorate these young men and others from Bedford who died in World War II who had attended the school. It was a poignant reminder of sacrifice and the youthful generation who gave their all for the freedoms we enjoy today. Though the school stands damaged, it still stands, and we will remember the lives that graced its halls for generations – as well as the precious freedom that so many within it were willing to preserve. “

April Cheek-Messier, National D-Day Memorial Foundation’s President

The building, previously the Bedford High School, was featured in the Bedford Boys Homefront Tour hosted by The National D-Day Memorial Foundation, according to the organization’s Associate Director of Marketing, Angela Hatcher Lynch, via email.