The Bedford Boys: One American Town’s Ultimate D-Day Sacrifice
Over the July 4th weekend I read the book The Bedford Boys: One American Town’s Ultimate D-Day Sacrifice by Alex Kershaw. This book tells the tragic and heroic story of Company A, the National Guard Regiment from Bedford, Virginia. These young men were the first to be dispatched on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France on 6.6.1944, D-Day.
Of the 28 Bedford Boys that landed on Omaha Beach, 22 died. If you have read about the landing at Normandy, you understand that the first few groups to land had no real chance for survival. That six men did survive was a miracle.
The book describes the devastation of the town of Bedford, having lost more men than any other town in the US during WWII. I found myself bursting into tears at different points in the book when I was reading about these brave young men, what they endured and how they never had the chance to grow up. And my heart broke for the families who had to wait in uncertainty to learn whether their son was coming home. In one day alone nine telegrams were delivered throughout the county telling families of their horrible loss. Eleven of the boys remain either buried in Normandy or lost somewhere in the waters off the coast of Normandy.
The beaches of Normandy have been on my “must see” list for a long time. In the book, I learned that an eighty-eight-acre memorial now exists in Bedford County Virginia. Neither of these places are easy to get to but I feel compelled to visit. D-Day was a turning point in WWII. Had the Bedford Boys and others not given their lives, I would not have the freedom to write this book review today.
The Bedford Boys is not an easy read – especially as a mother of a son. But I am so thankful that I took the time to learn about these brave men and their families. They made the ultimate sacrifice so we could have our freedom.
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