National D-Day Memorial

Overlord Arch, National D-Day Memorial, Bedford, Virginia

Overlord Arch, National D-Day Memorial, Bedford, Virginia

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National D-Day Memorial

Seventy years ago the largest single day amphibious assault in history took place. By the end of the day 156,000 men had landed in Normandy. This was to be one of the most significant moments of the Second World War, and marked the point when the combined military force of the Western allies were finally brought fully to bear against Germany. The National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia honors the Allied forces that participated in this historic feat.

Through The Surf Sculpture, National D-Day Memorial, Bedford, Virginia

Through The Surf Sculpture, National D-Day Memorial, Bedford, Virginia

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Why Bedford?

Bedford, like eleven other Virginia communities, provided a company of soldiers (Company A) to the 29th Infantry Division when the National Guard’s 116th Infantry Regiment was activated on 3 February 1941.  Some thirty Bedford soldiers were still in that company on D-Day; several more from Bedford were in other D-Day companies, including one who, two years earlier, had been reassigned from the 116th Infantry to the First Infantry Division.

By day’s end, nineteen of the company’s Bedford soldiers were dead. Two more Bedford soldiers died later in the Normandy campaign, as did yet another two assigned to other 116th Infantry companies. Bedford’s population in 1944 was about 3,200. Proportionally this community suffered the nation’s severest D-Day losses. Recognizing Bedford as emblematic of all communities, large and small, whose citizen-soldiers served on D-Day, Congress warranted the establishment of the National D-Day Memorial here.

Valor, Fidelity, Sacrifice Sculpture, National D-Day Memorial, Bedford, Virginia

Valor, Fidelity, Sacrifice Sculpture, National D-Day Memorial, Bedford, Virginia

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The Memorial’s Sculptures

The memorial is dominated by a granite arch (top image) on which is etched the operation’s military name, Overlord. The arch’s height—forty-four feet, six inches—is intended to recall the date of the invasion, June 6, 1944. Other sculptures show the stages of the invasion from the planning stages through the actual invasion. Bob Slaughter, one of the memorial’s organizers, was very clear about the aesthetic intentions of the work: “We wanted realism.”  This is in contrast, for instance, to the Vietnam War memorial in Washington, D.C., known as the Wall, which is highly abstract.

All of the images today have been finished with Perfect Effects from OnOne Software which makes creating such stylized looks very easy.

Summary
National D-Day Memorial
Article Name
National D-Day Memorial
Description
Seventy years ago the largest single day amphibious assault in history took place. The National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia honors the Allied forces that part.
Author
Publisher Name
Mark Summerfield
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1 Comment

  1. An important event to all of us to be remembered and commemorated. That second image of the soldier wading through water, rifle held high, is a remarkable sculpture. Well recorded, Mark.

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