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National D-Day Memorial, Bedford, Va.
"Across the Beach" is one of many bronze statues sculpted by Jim Brothers, of Kansas, at The National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va.

"Our presence here, 57 years removed from that event, gives testimony to how much was gained and how much was lost. What was gained that first day was a beach, and then a village, and then a country. And in time, all of Western Europe would be freed from fascism and its armies.

"The achievement of Operation Overlord is nearly impossible to overstate, in its consequences for our own lives and the life of the world. Free societies in Europe can be traced to the first footprints on the first beach on June 6, 1944. What was lost on D-Day we can never measure and never forget.

"When the day was over, America and her allies had lost at least 2,500 of the bravest men ever to wear a uniform. Many thousands more would die on the days that followed. They scaled towering cliffs, looking straight up into enemy fire. They dropped into grassy fields sown with land mines. They overran machine gun nests hidden everywhere, punched through walls of barbed wire, overtook bunkers of concrete and steel. The great journalist Ernie Pyle said, "It seemed to me a pure miracle that we ever took the beach at all. The advantages were all theirs, the disadvantages all ours. And yet," said Pyle, "we got on." [ speech continued . . . ]

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596th Signal Support Co., 97th Signal Battalion
47th Infantry Regiment, 9th Infantry Division
Stories by Vincent Z. Whaley

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