During WWII, many National Guard units were called up to serve from small towns and local regions. These men, usually had grown up together, worked together and the families were all tightly connected. In some communities, these units reflected a history and legacy of service going back to the Civil War on both sides. When those units were engaged in combat, the impact back home could be terrible.
In Bedford, VA the National D-Day memorial commemorates one of the most visible of our nations’ sacrifices. http://www.dday.org/ The 29th Infantry Division, including the Bedford boys of Company A, 116th Infantry Regiment went ashore on Omaha Beach. 19 soldiers from the town were killed on D-day—the highest per capita loss of any town in the country.
The citizens raised money and established the memorial to honor all of those who served on Dday. The monument has added some new exhibits to the already moving displays. The statue of one soldier, standing over the reminder of his fallen comrades represents both the loss and the determination to go on.
They have built a landing craft from stone. It conveys the challenge of coming through the water under fire. Some made it and some did not.
The larger than life sculpture of the Ranger’s ascent up the vertical face of Pointe du Hoc illustrates the odds they faced and the price they paid.
The last sculpture grouping shows the troops breaking out past the beachhead. Framed by the black and white Overlord invasion stripes, the soldier knows there is a long road ahead until the end of the war.
Every day these men are passing from us, take the time to talk to them now before these stones are the only voices that can reach us.