BEDFORD, Va. (WFXR) — Of the Bedford Boys who went overseas in World War II, eight were brought back home and laid to rest at Greenwood Cemetery in Bedford.
“Thousands of visitors to Bedford to the National D Day Memorial and to the tribute center want to come to the cemetery to pay their homage to our beloved Bedford boys,” said President of the Bedford International Alliance, Ken Parker.
A plaque was unveiled Saturday, Sept. 5, to make searching for the Bedford Boys a little easier on visitors.
“…that so describes and locates all of the eight Bedford Boys who are interned here,” Parker said.
Parker couldn’t do so, however, without a little reminder of how important the Bedford Boys are to the fabric of this town.
One face in the crowd, while Parker spoke, was Marguerite Cottrell, the youngest sister of Bedford Boy John Reynolds. She was only four years old when he went overseas.
“I was the last one, when he got ready to leave,” Cottrell said, recalling one of her only memories of her brother. “He picked me up and he said, ‘Now you be a good little girl until I come home.’ He never came home.”
Cottrell and other relatives of the Bedford Boys placed roses on the graves of the fallen soldiers. The recognition of the boys helps Cottrell, in a way, make up for the lack of memories she has of her brother.
“For me to grow up and not really know him, I feel like, in a way, I did know him, and I’ve always said and believe that there is a ‘there after’ and that I will see him one of these days,” Cottrell said.
“The importance of remembrance is critically important,” Parker said. “It’s in our DNA as a citizen and as a nation. Our character, our fiber, our bones are to remember our history and recognize the sacrifices of our service personnel who made the supreme sacrifice.”
Now with another permanent structure in the town, Cottrell, Parker, and many others’ confidence is only strengthened that as the years go by, Bedford will still remember.