June 6, 1944 . . . few days in our nation’s history have been more significant or more costly than D-Day. It might also be said that no greater honor could be bestowed on a locale than to be chosen as the site of the National D-Day Memorial, but as Smith Mountain Lake residents know, our very own Bedford County carries this solemn privilege. On that day in 1944 Bedford, then a sleepy town of 3,200 residents, suffered proportionally the highest losses of any town or city in the US. Twenty-three of the thirty Bedford residents who assaulted the shores of Normandy were killed in action, and for this reason Congress selected the town as the site for the National Memorial.
Located at the junction of Route 460 Bypass and Route 122, the D-Day Memorial is approximately twenty miles north of Smith Mountain Lake, well within driving distance for an afternoon or day trip. Visitors there should plan to have at least two hours to view the Memorial itself, as well as visit the gift shop and visitor’s center. Tour guides are available to answer questions, as well as provide group tours upon request. For more information, call 800-351-DDAY or visit their website for more information and directions. This summer as you’re enjoying the freedoms protected by the men and women of our Armed Forces, make sure to plan a visit to the D-Day Memorial to pay tribute to all of our World War II and D-Day veterans!