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A plaque honorinmg Bedford, Va. servicemembers who died in Normandy during the D-Day invasion, outside the Bedford County Courthouse.

A plaque honorinmg Bedford, Va. servicemembers who died in Normandy during the D-Day invasion, outside the Bedford County Courthouse. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

A plaque honorinmg Bedford, Va. servicemembers who died in Normandy during the D-Day invasion, outside the Bedford County Courthouse.

A plaque honorinmg Bedford, Va. servicemembers who died in Normandy during the D-Day invasion, outside the Bedford County Courthouse. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

The National D-Day Memorial at Bedford, Va.

The National D-Day Memorial at Bedford, Va. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Visitors to the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va., read some of the numerous narrative plaques.

Visitors to the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va., read some of the numerous narrative plaques. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

The Coast Guard bell at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va.

The Coast Guard bell at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Guide Walter Johnson, a 23-year Navy veteran, explains the sculpture "Final Tribute," representing a battlefield grave, at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va.

Guide Walter Johnson, a 23-year Navy veteran, explains the sculpture "Final Tribute," representing a battlefield grave, at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

"Le Monument aux Morts," a recasting of sculptor Edmond de Laheudrie’s war-damaged statue at the Church of St. Aignan in Trévières, France, at the National D-Day Memorial at Bedford, Va.

"Le Monument aux Morts," a recasting of sculptor Edmond de Laheudrie’s war-damaged statue at the Church of St. Aignan in Trévières, France, at the National D-Day Memorial at Bedford, Va. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

The National D-Day Memorial at Bedford, Va.

The National D-Day Memorial at Bedford, Va. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Visitors to the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va., take photos of "Scaling the Wall," a tribute to the 2nd Ranger Battalion's assault on Pointe du Hoc during the D-Day invasion.

Visitors to the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va., take photos of "Scaling the Wall," a tribute to the 2nd Ranger Battalion's assault on Pointe du Hoc during the D-Day invasion. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

A detailed look at the top figure in "Scaling the Wall" at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va.

A detailed look at the top figure in "Scaling the Wall" at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

At the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va., an Australian flag is placed next to plaques listing the names of soldiers from America's allies who were killed on June 6, 1944.

At the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va., an Australian flag is placed next to plaques listing the names of soldiers from America's allies who were killed on June 6, 1944. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

In "Across the Beach" at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va., jets of water represent bullets hitting the water during the assault on Normandy on June 6, 1944.

In "Across the Beach" at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va., jets of water represent bullets hitting the water during the assault on Normandy on June 6, 1944. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

At the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va., plaques list the names of soldiers from America's allies who were killed on June 6, 1944.

At the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va., plaques list the names of soldiers from America's allies who were killed on June 6, 1944. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

A monument in the shape of the shoulder patch of the Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force, in the Reynolds Garden at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va.

A monument in the shape of the shoulder patch of the Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force, in the Reynolds Garden at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

A mosaic detailing the D-Day attack plan, above a statue of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va.

A mosaic detailing the D-Day attack plan, above a statue of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

A visitors photographs "The Supreme Commander," a statue of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va.

A visitors photographs "The Supreme Commander," a statue of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

"Scaling the Wall," a tribute to the 2nd Ranger Battalion's assault on Pointe du Hoc during the D-Day invasion, at the National D-Day Memorial at Bedford, Va.

"Scaling the Wall," a tribute to the 2nd Ranger Battalion's assault on Pointe du Hoc during the D-Day invasion, at the National D-Day Memorial at Bedford, Va. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

In "Across the Beach" at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va., jets of water represent bullets hitting the water during the assault on Normandy on June 6, 1944.

In "Across the Beach" at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va., jets of water represent bullets hitting the water during the assault on Normandy on June 6, 1944. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Visitors to the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va., read some of the numerous commemorative plaques.

Visitors to the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va., read some of the numerous commemorative plaques. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

A bust of Gen. Omar Bradley at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va.

A bust of Gen. Omar Bradley at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

A bust of Deputy Supreme Commander Arthur William Tedder in the Reynolds Garden, near the statue of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va.

A bust of Deputy Supreme Commander Arthur William Tedder in the Reynolds Garden, near the statue of Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Visitors at the National D-Day Memorial at Bedford, Va., read the plaque beneath a bust of British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery.

Visitors at the National D-Day Memorial at Bedford, Va., read the plaque beneath a bust of British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Two of the plaques listing the names of American servicemembers who died in Normandy on June 6, 1944 at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va.

Two of the plaques listing the names of American servicemembers who died in Normandy on June 6, 1944 at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

Plaques listing the names of American servicemembers who died in Normandy on June 6, 1944 at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va.

Plaques listing the names of American servicemembers who died in Normandy on June 6, 1944 at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

The top of Jim Brothers' sculpture, "Scaling the Wall," at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va. In the background is Elmon T. Gray Plaza.

The top of Jim Brothers' sculpture, "Scaling the Wall," at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va. In the background is Elmon T. Gray Plaza. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

The National D-Day Memorial at Bedford, Va.

The National D-Day Memorial at Bedford, Va. (Joe Gromelski/Stars and Stripes)

BEDFORD, Va. — The National D-Day Memorial will mark the 70th anniversary of the World War II landings in Normandy this week with a series of events expected to draw thousands of people to the small community that suffered the nation's greatest losses per capita on June 6, 1944.

"We anticipate, based on our numbers from five years ago, that we'll have anywhere from 5,000 to 8,000 people on the site during the ceremony itself, and maybe as high as 10,000 for the day," said Site Operations Manager Jim McCann. "We have groups that have organized charter buses to bring large numbers of D-Day veterans in, rather than having them come in individually by car. We have currently 13 buses of D-Day veterans."

A wider group of veterans will be honored this year, McCann said. "We've expanded the definition. We used to say a D-Day veteran was a guy who crossed the beach on June 6th. They're few in number [now]. So this year we're acknowledging all those who participated in the Normandy campaign starting on June 6th through late August, 1944."

Among the events on the schedule is the dedication of a sculpture honoring the local "Bedford Boys," 19 of whom lost their lives in the storming of the beaches on the first day. Bedford's population at the time was 3,200.

gromelski.joe@stripes.com


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