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National D-Day Memorial, Bedford, Va.
Bronze soldier statues form "The Wall," which depicts U.S. Rangers scaling the cliffs at Pointe du Hoc in Normandy, France

"Bedford has a special place in our history. But there were neighborhoods like these all over America, from the smallest villages to the greatest cities. Somehow they all produced a generation of young men and women who, on a date certain, gathered and advanced as one, and changed the course of history. Whatever it is about America that has given us such citizens, it is the greatest quality we have, and may it never leave us.

"In some ways, modern society is very different from the nation that the men and women of D-Day knew, and it is sometimes fashionable to take a cynical view of the world. But when the calendar reads the 6th of June, such opinions are better left unspoken. No one who has heard and read about the events of D-Day could possibly remain a cynic. Army Private Andy Rooney was there to survey the aftermath. A lifetime later he would write, "If you think the world is selfish and rotten, go to the cemetery at Colleville overlooking Omaha Beach. See what one group of men did for another on D-Day, June 6, 1944. [ 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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