There is plenty of parking at the Memorial.
There are toilets on site.
There is small store open from 10am to 5pm, except Mondays December through February.
Inspired by an idea from D-Day veteran Bob Slaughter and dedicated on 6th June 2001 by President George W. Bush, the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia encompasses some 88 acres and welcomes an average of 55,000 visitors each year. It's a place quite unlike any other.
Congress selected Bedford as the location for America's National D-Day Memorial in honour of the "Bedford Boys". On 6th June 1944, Company A of the 116th Infantry Regiment, 29th Infantry Division included 30 men from the town of Bedford, all volunteers, who had been assigned to the 29th when their National Guard regiment was activated in the months following the attack on Pearl Harbour. After storming Omaha Beach, at the end of D-Day, nineteen of the Company's Bedford contingent were dead. Two more would fall later in the Battle of Normandy. Congress recognised Bedford as emblematic of all communities, large and small, whose citizen soldiers served on D-Day.
The monument features three plazas, each commemorating a specific stage of the D-Day invasion, from planning to victory. The English Garden connects the site with England and, in particular, Southwick House, site of the Allied headquarters on D-Day.
The Middle Plaza focuses on a large blue-grey expanse symbolizing the Channel crossing. At the far end is a stylized landing scene where a granite representation of a "Higgins boat" LCVP landing craft sits at the edge of a large pool leading to a sandy beach. There are three life-size bronze sculptures, titled "Through the Surf", "Across the Beach" and "Death on Shore". These represent scenes commonplace on the morning of the landing. Also in the reflecting pool are two "hedgehog" obstacles. Air jets beneath the water create the illusion of enemy fire in the water around the statues. The soldiers appear to be moving toward a German bunker, the backdrop of the landing scene.
Victory Plaza features the iconic 44 foot 6 inch "Victory Arch", inscribed with the word OVERLORD. Beneath it stands "Final Tribute", a bronze rendering of a soldier's battlefield grave marker, with an inverted M1 rifle, the helmet on top and dog tags hanging.
The National D-Day Memorial also places great emphasis on education and operates several programmes for students, including "Valor, Fidelity, Sacrifice," a presentation that lasts two hours, begins in a period military tent and includes a guided tour reinforced by hands-on-activities. Web-based distance-learning offerings enable students anywhere in the United States to view a live program. The memorial's virtual field trip allows students, teachers or organizations to interact with our staff in real time, providing stories about the Second World War, resources and lessons. They broadcast the live program from a studio decorated like a 1940s living room, complete with artefacts and furnishings. Throughout the year, the memorial also hosts lectures, teacher institutes, commemorative programs, oral history sessions, living history programs, outreach events, concerts and other educational initiatives to support its mission.
The Education Center is the next big project for the team at the Memorial. Since the site was first inaugurated they have been collecting artefacts from veterans and their families, such as the watch belonging to Private James Foster, stopped at the time he was killed on D-Day. It is hoped the museum and education center will be ready to open in time for the 75th Anniversary of D-Day on June 6, 2019.
The National D-Day Memorial is managed by the non-profit organisation D-Day Memorial Foundation. It offers those who are interested a number of ways to help contribute to its upkeep and development. The memorial is open Monday through Sunday 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM. During the months of January and February and part of March, the invasion pool is drained for maintenance.