Heroes, War


06.06.07 | Comment?

I finally found out the reason why: it was because of the National Guard.

Actually, I guess it’s a little more complex than that. But ultimately, a National Guard unit is why the National D-Day Memorial is in Bedford, Virginia, my dad’s home town.

Times were tough all over back in the late 1930s, as the Great Depression showed few signs of letting up. People stuggled to get by as best they could. A few dollars here or there could keep hungry bellies full.

For many young men in Bedford, those dollars came from the National Guard. A drill session once a month and summer camp in Virginia Beach were all that was required. It’s really no surprise that many signed up.

Then the war came, and the Guard unit was absorbed whole into the Army. That’s why so many men from the same area ended up serving together.

And on June 6th, 1944, thirty five of these young men from Bedford climbed into boats and headed for a beach on the coast of France code-named Omaha. By the end of the day nineteen of them would be dead, many of them without ever touching French soil. Their section of the beach was not captured in the assault; instead the Army broke through to the east and captured that part of Omaha from the rear.

And that’s the reason why.

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