Webb, Warner, Perriello laud passage of D-Day Memorial study
U.S. Sens. Jim Webb and Mark Warner and Fifth District Congressman Tom Perriello today lauded passage of legislation that would authorize the Department of the Interior to study whether the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford could be transferred to the National Park Service. The legislation was written in consultation with the Memorial, which recently reported that it does not have enough money to sustain operations.
“We are pleased that the Secretary of the Interior already has launched a study of the suitability of adding the National D-Day Memorial to the Park Service roster, and this legislation provides an additional level of ‘insurance’ that the process will be completed,” Sen. Warner said. “The sacrifices made by this community, and many other small towns across the country, is a story that needs to be protected and retold. It is America’s story.”
“I am pleased that the National Defense Authorization Act puts the National D-Day Memorial—an important part of both Virginia and our nation’s cultural history—on track to be considered for inclusion as part of the U.S. National Park System,” said Sen. Webb. “As one who grew up in the military, was privileged to serve, and who remains proud of the service of my son and my son-in-law, I share the commitment of stewardship felt by so many in Bedford for the sacrifices made on D-Day.”
“This tribute to the sacrifice and valor of the Bedford Boys is not just a local treasure, but a national one and deserves to be a part of our nation’s heritage for generations to come,” said Rep. Perriello. “I’m grateful for the tireless work of Senators Warner and Webb and thrilled to see our bill headed for the President’s signature.”
“The leadership Senator Webb, Senator Warner, and Congressman Perriello have shown in the effort to secure the future of the National D-Day Memorial is a stirring tribute to the valor, fidelity, and sacrifice of the Allied Forces who breached Fortress Europe sixty-five years ago. The National D-Day Memorial Foundation deeply appreciates their commitment to preserving the lessons and legacy of D-Day, 6 June 1944,” said Dr. William McIntosh, President of the National D-Day Memorial Foundation.
Nineteen soldiers from Bedford died in combat on June 6, 1944. As the city’s population at the time was only 3,200, Bedford suffered the highest proportional loss of life of any American city on D-Day. The National D-Day Memorial was authorized by President Bill Clinton in 1996, and dedicated by President George W. Bush in 2001. The memorial attracts approximately 75,000 visitors a year.
In early June, Sens. Webb and Warner and Rep. Perriello introduced companion bills in the Senate and House to authorize the Department of the Interior to conduct a feasibility study for the D-Day Memorial, the first step towards becoming a National Park. On July 24, the legislation was inserted as an amendment to National Defense Authorization Act at the urging of the Senators. Today, the U.S. House passed the compromise version of the National Defense Authorization Act – including the D-Day Memorial Study – which after being passed by the U.S. Senate, will head to the President’s desk for his signature.