February 20, 2022

National D-Day Memorial

A goodly part of the Fall of 2020 was spent going back and forth between the house in Fairfax and Greensboro, NC. A contractor from work is in Greensboro, and a project they had been working on for some time was coming to fruition. There were many test and training session requiring a quick (?) jaunt down to Greensboro.

Typically I would take Highway 29 to Greensboro, because:

  • It’s a much more scenic drive than I-95/I-85
  • Even though all the various mapping tools will tell you it’s slower than I-95/I-85, it’s not because there is always some sort of slowdown on I-95
  • It’s much less stressful
  • I hate I-95 with a passion…..
  • yada, yada, yada

You get the drift. This is the route I typically would take:

Fairfax to Greensboro

The route takes you through Charlottesville, around Lynchburg and around Danville. It’s typically a bit congested until you get through Charlottesville, then it clears out and it’s smooth driving.

As you get nearer to Roanoke, the signs touting the D-Day Memorial become fairly common. A co-worker of mine had told me about the Memorial some time back, and in all our trips to Roanoke we had simply not been able to get there.

So one day, on my way back from Greensboro, I decided to go see what it was all about.

It’s a bit of a drive from 29, and honestly out in the middle of no-where. It’s about 25 miles West of AltaVista, VA to Bedford and took me about 45 minutes to get there.

For those who aren’t aware, the reason the Memorial is in Bedford, VA, is the community suffered the highest per capita casualty rate for the D-Day Invasion in the nation. It’s a sobering reminder to us in this age, the sacrifices our fore fathers made to keep our amazing nation free.

Driving up to the entrance, I paid admission and the attendant told me that the next tour was scheduled to start in just a few minutes. The car was parked, and with the XT-2 with the 18-55mm zoom in hand, I made my way into the park.

After walking around a bit I encountered a tour guide with 2 other people, so joining in I took the tour. The tour guide was very thorough as we walked around, describing all the displays, and their significance, etc. All in all very well orchestrated.

To be honest though, I’m torn about this place. Perhaps I’m a bit jaded after experiencing some of the amazing memorials in the Washington DC area. The D-Day Memorial seemed to me to be just a bit tone deaf.

A couple of things really jumped out at me:

  • There was a lot of space allocated for the “Generals”. Far too much space in my little mind. None of these generals made the ultimate sacrifice on the beach, which is what this memorial purports itself to be.
  • There is a small wall around the main viewing area with the names of those who perished on the beach in the invasion. In looking at the names, I asked the guide how the names were listed. His answer really shocked me; “There wasn’t enough money at the initial build to have all the names listed, so it was decided that ‘not to offend anyone’, the names would be listed randomly. In time all the names were listed as funding allowed”. Wow. So as to not “offend” anyone, a decision was made to make it almost impossible for visitors to find the names of deceased loved ones. Wow, just wow.

Anyway, after the tour I walked around for an hour or so capturing the scene. Here are a few notable images:

D-Day Memorial
D-Day Memorial
D-Day Memorial
D-Day Memorial
D-Day Memorial
D-Day Memorial
D-Day Memorial
D-Day Memorial
D-Day Memorial
D-Day Memorial
D-Day Memorial
D-Day Memorial

The sizes of the images have been adjusted. All the full sized images, can been seen at: D-Day Memorial Photos .

The drive back to Highway 29, another 45 minutes, gave me the opportunity to contemplate the memorial. The amazing loss of life, and all it’s ramifications were really brought home by the memorial. It’s sobering, really, to think of the impact to the lives of those left behind, both short and long term. It was also a saddening that this memorial could have been so much more, with perhaps a little less design by committee.

The Vietnam Memorial, on the Mall, is a classic example of what just one mind can accomplish. The hoopla that emerged with the opening of the memorial was tremendous. The statue that was added to appease those who didn’t find the memorial “appropriate”. But I’ll tell you what, every single time I visit the Memorial I’m brought to tears because the presentation is just so amazing. The D-Day Memorial, while a notable effort, definitely does not have this impact.

A couple of WordPress tidbits before we wrap up.

After quite a bit of verbal arm wrestling on the WordPress forums, I was informed that the ability to sort images in a gallery by number was removed when they “upgraded” to the new block editor. Yay! That’s improvement… NOT.

Anyway, using the code editor, I copied the HTML making up the code, and then managed to sort it as I wanted in Excel, and paste it back in. Elegant, no, functional, yes. The ONLY good part of this is the HTML is well behaved, so I “should” be able to whip up a python do-hicky (that’s a technical term) to resolve the issue.

I’ve updated the Fairfax Labor Day Car Show photos to be in the proper order, and the photos here, and in the accompanying photo page are in the correct, chronological order.

Doing some spelunking on The Wayback Machine, I was able to locate older versions of this blog. Believe it or not, this foo-foo has been going on since 2004. While until not that long ago posting was EXTREMELY sporadic, there is significant content available. If I can figure out how to copy it over here, in the proper chronological order, I’ll do that. So stay tuned!

Until we meet again,