The D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Virginia was dedicated in 2001. Why Bedford? Bedford lost the most number of troops per capita than any other locality in the United States– 19 boys from one town dead.

The D-Day Memorial is operated by a private foundation, rather than the park service. The recession economy is the main reason for its financial difficulties. The following video is from last year. Hopefully the Park Service will take it over. We need to remember those brave souls who stormed the beaches at Normandy.

The National D-Day Memorial Foundation

If anyone feels generous, the D-Day Memorial certainly needs help from private donors. Government does not operate this memorial to our heroes. WWII veterans are now dying at the rate of 1800 per day.

Take me to the D-Day Memorial Tip Jar

They are so cute and fortunate to have their health (average age 88)

From Bedford, June 6, 2010.  They weren’t whining about Stalin either.

21 Thoughts to “D-Day Memorial Falls on Hard Times”

  1. Visitor

    Donations are way down this year since they announced their plans to honor Stalin with a statue.

    http://www.roanoke.com/news/roanoke/wb/249022

    Maybe people don’t want to support someone that honors Stalin.

    If you want to give money to remember D-Day, there’s always the D-day museum in New Orleans . They can use the money too, and not use it to honor Stalin.

    http://www.nationalww2museum.org/giving/

    There’s supposedly a little plaque somewhere at Bedford that says “Oh yeah, Stalin killed even more millions of people than Hitler” if you look hard to find it. Thousands of Americans died in Korea because of Stalin’s support of North Korea. To put a statue of Stalin in a memorial to US solders is disgraceful. If the National Park Service takes over Bedford, the first thing they should do is get some WW II vets in there with jack hammers and go ‘Berlin Wall’ on that statue!

  2. And donations were down last year because? (hint: the economy)

    Some people want their own white washed version of history. I don’t consider busts necessarily a tribute or an honor. It would be hard to imagine WWII without Stalin. It is a good thing to remember that sometimes we are put in the position of having to make horrible or less than desirable choices. Yes we had to cozy up with Stalin. Yes he was an evil bastard. Do we brush this under the rug or contront the issue?

    Visitor, once again you have come on this blog and had something offensive to say. Stalin was not honored. Read your own article more carefully.

    Meanwhile, a plaque does accompany the bust and summarizes Stalin’s ruthless leadership. It concludes: “In memory of the tens of millions who died under Stalin’s rule and in tribute to all whose valor, fidelity, and sacrifice denied him and his successors victory in the Cold War.”

    In addition to the busts of Stalin, Roosevelt, Truman and Churchill, the memorial features busts of Clement Attlee, deputy prime minister under Churchill; French general and leader of the Free French Forces, Charles de Gaulle; and Chinese leader Chiang Kai-shek.

    It appears that an adequate disclaimer has been put up. Stalin and his red army were part of the liberation forces. A stern warning about being careful with whom one sleeps is always a good reminder.

    Mr. Howler advises more careful reading and to study your history, Visitor.

  3. Censored bybvbl

    I saw the later thread before seeing this one. My sister, mother, and I just returned from a trip to Lexington and Greensboro and stopped at the D-Day memorial on our way back. It’s out of the way for most tourists – there were probably a couple dozen there while we were there. It’s the third time my mother has visited it because it’s so important to her and she believes that it’s a collosal undertaking for a small town to undertake.

    Moon-howler, you’ll have to slap my typing hand for what I’m about to say.

    Visitor, if you or others are willing to forget the sacrifices made by Americans and those of so many other nations in order to diss a mention of Stalin ( hate him or not, he played a role in fighting the Nazis), screw you.

  4. Loud cheering, Censored. No hand-slapping here. I totally agree.

  5. bubberella

    Russia sustained horrible casualties in WWII and their involvement stretched the front and strained Axis supply lines. Stalin was a blood stained son-of-a-bitch, but he was definately an ally during the war.

  6. Definitely. I think it is important to remember, as a nation, when you have to lie down with hogs, you get some mud on you. History pretty much confirms that in a 2 theater war such as WWII was for Americans, that without the Russians the outcome very much could have been different.

    Our family joke was always that 3 people warned about the USSR: Patton, Churchill and my father. Now I think perhaps his importance was exaggerated a little.

  7. Wolverine

    I really don’t understand why Visitor is being jumped on for expressing an opinion at variance with the opinions of others. I did not find his comments offensive in the way they were expressed. His is an opinion that has long been shared by others who were either victims of or frontline warriors in the Cold War which followed victory in Europe in 1945. FDR himself had his legacy diminished somewhat in the view of many historians by what he gave away to Stalin at Yalta, even though he justified it on the grounds of wartime expediency.

    The memories of others with regard to Stalin were very, very bitter. The Polish president was just killed in a plane crash enroute to paying homage to the 22,000 Poles, including most of the Polish Army officer corps, who were murdered by Stalin’s secret police at Katyn Forest and elsewhere in 1940. I studied Soviet politics under a professor with long experience in the Soviet Union. He described how he noticed that older people on a certain street in Moscow always crossed the street for no particular reason. When he asked about it, he was told that these people remembered Stalin. This was the street on which the infamous KGB Lubyanka Prison was located, and these older people, ten or fifteen years after Stalin’s death, were still afraid to walk by the prison gates. Ask anyone who had a relative sent to the infamous gulags. Ask those with a loved one who died on the streets of Budapest in 1956. Memories can be long and deep.

    I hope you did notice that the objection to the bust of Stalin in that Roanoke newspaper article came from a member of and presumably a spokesman for American Legion Post 54. Most of the Greatest Generation is now gone. I don’t know what they would have thought with regard to this case, although it is not hard to figure out what George Patton would have said. The Legion membership is now post-World War II —- Korea and Vietnam and everything Cold War in between. Some of those vets remember especially what happened to our POW’s in Korea where Stalin was an active supporter of our foes or in Vietnam where his successors picked up that role. Thoughts of POW’s being turned into mental basket cases in Korea and of others being forced to hunker down in the infamous “tiger cages” of Vietnam or to undergo the torture experienced by John McCain and others tend to color strongly the views of veterans. Personal memories can sometimes overwhelm a dispassionate view of historical facts.

    Having said all of the above, I, having been in Vietnam and having been one of those frontline warriors in the Cold War, having actually gone through Checkpoint Charlie into that sad place called East Berlin, having fought against terrorist groups with a Marxist credo and motivation, can also see the other side of this equation. History is not to be whitewashed or it is no longer history. We allied ourselves in 1941 with that bloody bastard Stalin because we needed him and his Red Army. It was an unholy alliance of expediency. Without the counterpressure of the Red Army in the East, I believe that Normandy would have been virtually impossible. So split were the Nazi forces between those two fronts that our own 7th Army under General Alexander Hatch could accomplish the invasion of southern France in August 1944 in Operation Anvil-Dragoon and then sweep up the Rhone Valley with minimal opposition until its junction with Patton’s 3rd Army in Alsace, thus completing the Allied phalanx of steel aimed at the Siegfried Line. The Red Army was key in all this. History cannot be denied.

    We called it the Red Army. That can raise visions of a bunch of communists all banded together for a fight. I don’t think so. The Red Army, as I recall, was a tightly controlled thing. Many of its top generals had been been removed and executed by Stalin for political reasons in the 1930’s. Each unit was under the close watch of political comissars for any signs of disloyalty to the state. A rise in the ranks seemed to depend on whether you might be considered a future threat to that state. (Did you know that Nikita Khruschev got his start up the ladder as an army political commissar at Stalingrad?)

    Nevertheless, something has to explain the heroism and sacrifice at Stalingrad. In my opinion, the average Russian soldier was fighting not for Stalin or communism but for hearth and home and Mother Russia. And I think that Stalin and his henchmen played that song to its hilt. The clash between Slav and Teuton long pre-dated this war and even the revolutions of 1917. The civilian and military losses in Russia were astronomical by all historical standards. There were, of course, times when Russian soldiers just said to Hell with it and surrendered. But there were more times when they fought to the death… or to victory. You didn’t have to like their leadership and some of them committed the gravest of war crimes, e.g. the rampant rape of civilian German women in the struggle for Berlin, but, on the whole, their strength and perseverance made Normandy possible, aided immensely by war supplies from us.

    A possible solution for this Bedford conflict? Take down the bust of Stalin and erect in its place a statue of a Russian soldier. He was really the one who made Normandy a doable thing.

  8. I would agree, Wolverine other than the DDay Memorial in Bedford is also a teaching museum. There are other busts there of the leaders of those allied nations. A plaque denounces Stalin as being a murderous brute.

    We can’t and shouldn’t whitewash history. If we wipe out all traces of evil then it has a better chance of coming back in another form. Our country was at arms’ length in bed with Stalin and his Red Army in order to win the war. There is no denial.

    I would hope that Americans would not dishonor WWII veterans because they disagreed with a decision to have a bust of one of the allied leaders, complete with disclaimer. This situation is a perfect example of history becoming politicized.

    I don’t appreciate someone who has been uninvited to this blog (several weeks ago because of nasty comments to me) coming here and undermining my efforts to draw attention to a financial problem. The real nerve was posting a counter-donation site. Actually the real nerve was coming back here after being told to go find another blog.

    I hope this sets the record straight. In the future, if this individual returns and breaks through the sytem again, I will simply remove his or her post.

  9. Here is the link to last year’s tribute to D-Day on antibvbl.net.
    There is also mention made of the hard times that the D-Day Memorial has fallen on, long before the bust of Stalin was in the mix.

    http://www.moonhowlings.net/index.php/2009/06/06/operation-overlord-65-years-ago-today/

  10. Censored bybvbl

    We allied ourselves in 1941 with that bloody bastard Stalin because we needed him and his Red Army. It was an unholy alliance of expediency. Without the counterpressure of the Red Army in the East, I believe that Normandy would have been virtually impossible.

    Wolverine, for me that’s the reason I find Visitor’s post offensive. Regardless of what we now think of Stalin, without the help of Russia we may have had a very different outcome in Europe.
    The town of Bedford made a disproportionate sacrifice. To suggest – or post a site which suggests – that contributions which support a memorial which honors all the veterans of that battle be withheld because of a statue of Stalin (regardless of mention of his heinous deeds) seems beyond petty to me.

  11. Wolverine

    Moon, I do agree that the diminishing of funds for the Bedford memorial is probably caused by the economy, both through the tightness of finances per se and less tourist travel. In fact, until you posted this, I had not even heard about the Stalin controversy. (Another reason to stay on this blog, might I add.) It does, however, look like an occasion for some of us to get out the old household budget and see if funds cannot be moved around a bit. This can be hard to do. I just got thanked with a beautiiful blanket from the Class of 2010 at the St. Labre Indian School in Ashland, Montana. How much to give to the honored memories of the past and how much to give to the future of those Crow and Northern Cheyenne kids — not to forget the Lakota kids at St. Joseph’s? The budget is not elastic these days, sad to say.

  12. Wolverine

    Censored — You can look at it both ways. Without us, Russia might have been beaten. Imagine if the full strength of the Wehrmacht, the SS, and the Luftwaffe had been focused on Russia without the need to fight in North Africa, Sicily, and Italy and later in France and the Low Countries. For a long time, Stalin was pleading desperately with Roosevelt and Churchill for the opening of the Second Front in northern Europe. After Stalingrad, Russia was holding on and giving a good account of itself, but that army was bleeding profusely both literally and figuratively. Their casualties were mind boggling. The Eastern Front was a meat grinder for both sides.

    Actually, I think both memorials are worthy of support. But, Moon is right. Times are tough right now.

  13. Censored bybvbl

    Wolverine, having seen the memorial, I think it fairly represents the many countries that fought along with our US troops. To suggest that the memorial – which a small, rather isolated town strives hard to support – not receive support because of one statue of Stalin seems ludicrous to me.

    I agree that Russia might have been beaten. It was a possibility. I don’t like the white-washing. I’m sure many of us remember some of the uglier incidents in Vietnam as well. It can’t be all bad, bad Jane Fonda with no mention of Lt. Calley. (One of my relatives was involved in the science that put an end to the war in the Pacific – good outcome for the USA, perhaps not so great for mankind. Two sides of the sword…)

  14. And then there is that science question–the atomic bomb being dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. That is always a tough one for me. To sit and think about human beings being vaporized is horrible. It is also horrible to think about fire bombing in Toyoko and Dresden.

    Then I remind myself that the man who was to become my father was sitting out on the west coast waiting to be part of the invasion of Japan. Estimated losses for a ground invasion were well over a million troops.

    When I consider where he was and the fact that I might not be having this conversation, the question about the atomic bomb becomes less theoretical and more practical for me.

  15. Wolverine, I don’t know how efforts to bring the Bedford D-Day Memorial under the auspices of the Park Service are coming along and I haven’t been able to find out. I expect the govt. cutbacks are probably creating a problem for that also.

    You are right though about our favorite charities. Where does one draw the line? I only give to D-Day on D-Day. I try to do St. Joseph’s once a month. The D-Day one is easier for me because it is also my parents’ anniversary. I think of it as a gift in their honor. Once a year for 2 special occassions makes it easier for me to justify.

    I just would hate to see all of those who contributed towards D-Day actually happening dishonored over the Stalin inclusion. I would especially hate to see the boys of Bedford dishonored. 19 is a huge bite out of that population back then which was approximately 3200. 3 more guys from Bedford died after the invasion.

  16. Censored bybvbl

    M-h, my future father was on a submarine in the Pacific during the war. My mother’s relative, who was the scientist, took a lot of flack during the war because practically every able-bodied man was gone. People criticized him for still being in an academic setting and, of course, he could never mention his work.

  17. My father in law worked at the Norden Bombsight factory. I asked my husband if he got slack as a kid because his father wasn’t active duty. He said no.

    Did your relative then say nah nah nah nah naaaaah after the fireworks were over?

  18. clueless

    How does it take 2 million per year to run the Monument? It is in Bedford, not in DC, the cost of living and wages should be much less. I think it is a fitting tribute to the Greatest Generation. I would take a look at their budget and spending, it could be part of the problem.

  19. Censored bybvbl

    M-h, I don’t remember my mother ever saying that he discussed it. I’ll ask her next time we talk. We met for brunch today and she loaned me the copy of “The Bedford Boys” which she bought while we were on our trip.

    Clueless, I haven’t looked at the Memorial’s finances. The area is rather extensive and has quite large plantings as well as the statuary. There’s a small gift shop close to the monument. You would pay to reach this point. There is also a larger building with some gifts but also a focus on the history. This section is free and located before going up the hill to the monument area.

  20. Wolverine

    Ran across an interesting post on another blog concerning this issue of the statue of Stalin. The poster claimed to be from the Republic of Georgia, the former Georgian S.S.R. where Stalin was born. In essence, he wanted to know if we Americans had gone crazy. In Georgia they have torn down the statues of Stalin and are trying to erase him and his terrible deeds from memory. He couldn’t believe that, in America, we were putting up a new statue of Stalin.

    A lot of different facets to this question. I still say replace that Stalin statue with one of a Russian soldier and end the controversy.

  21. gobigtex

    I commend you for your fundraising efforts but I think your comments miss the central issue. It’s pointless trying to rationalize something that is basically an emotional experience, the Memorial. The many who go there do so to honor their heroes, with the subtext being honoring Heroes of FREEDOM. And anytime any ‘leader’ is cast in bronze he in point of fact becomes immortalized, for all eternity. That’s what a statue is. To have ones beloved heroes personally associated with such a vile, oppressive, brutal, murdering dictator is a slap in the face of every patriotic American. Wolv was right – put up an unknown Russian soldier instead, they alone suffered the hardships then. Send the bust to Moscow and let the mourning millions use it for target practice: blood-red paintballs at 30 Rubles a pop sounds good.

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