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National D-Day Memorial, Bedford, Va.
The Reflecting Pool hosts sculptures depicting scenes of the June 6, 1944, D-Day landing in Normandy, France

"Upon this beautiful town fell the heaviest share of American losses on D-Day — 19 men from a community of 3,200, four more afterwards.

"When people come here, it is important to see the town as the monument itself. Here were the images these soldiers carried with them, and the thought of when they were afraid. This is the place they left behind. And here was the life they dreamed of returning to.

"They did not yearn to be heroes. They yearned for those long summer nights again, and harvest time, and paydays. They wanted to see Mom and Dad again, and hold their sweethearts or wives, or for one young man who lived here, to see that baby girl born while he was away. [ 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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