Home » Historic Treasures in Bedford, Virginia

Bedford is home to the National D-Day Memorial, a deeply moving tribute to the American and Allied forces that fought in the largest amphibious invasion of all time. The Memorial overlooks the community that suffered the greatest loss per capita of any in the United States. It is a solemn atmosphere for veterans and visitors alike to gain insight and learn more about the events that shaped world history. It is the only place in the world that individually lists the names of all Allied personnel who died on June 6, 1944, during the invasion of Normandy. This was a groundbreaking research effort to recognize those who had fallen in service to their country and to preserve their memory. The Memorial is also the site of Virginia’s first Gold Star Families Memorial Monument, honoring all families who have lost a loved one in military service.

In December 2023, the National Park Service named Bedford, Virginia an American World War II Heritage City. This program honors the contributions of localities and their citizens who stepped into the workforce to support America’s efforts during World War II. Only one such designation is awarded in each state or territory.

The 80th anniversary of D-Day will be commemorated June 6-9, 2024, with the theme “Every Story Lives On”. The events begin with a ceremony on June 6 with surviving D-Day and World War II veterans as the guests of honor. On the evenings of June 7 and 8, the Memorial will be transformed in a multi-media sensory display, with the presentation When We Went In: The D-Day Experience in Light and Sound, created exclusively for the National D-Day Memorial by the Institute for Creativity, Arts, and Technology at Virginia Tech. The acclaimed West Point Alumni Glee Club will perform a stirring patriotic remembrance concert before the Friday night show. On Saturday, USO-style duo, Letters from Home, will dazzle the audience with a 1940s-themed concert to open the showing. The events conclude with an authentic field chapel service on Sunday morning, June 9.

Visit the Memorial’s 80th anniversary website at dday.org/80th for full event details, tickets, and updates. The Memorial’s normal operating hours are daily, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

When visiting, don’t miss the Bedford Boys Tribute Center in historic downtown. Opened June 1, 2019, this is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive museum honoring the legacies of the famed “Bedford Boys.” Walk in their footsteps inside Bedford’s iconic and historic Green’s Drugstore where they hung out as young men. Learn about them growing up and about the supreme sacrifices made that forever teach us that freedom is not free.

Also located in Bedford is Thomas Jefferson’s personal retreat home, Poplar Forest. Built in a grove of poplar trees, the octagonal house, one of Jefferson’s finest architectural designs, offers great insight into the private side of this Founding Father. A visit to Poplar Forest will shed new light on Thomas Jefferson’s creativity and curiosity, his enslaved community, and his private world. View artifacts from the free and enslaved people who lived and worked at Poplar Forest. The site is open for daily tours and hosts special events throughout the year, including historical theater, lectures, dinners, ceremonies, wine festivals, and more.

Historic downtown Bedford offers art galleries, shops, antiques, and restaurants that are within easy walking distance from each other in a charming atmosphere of 19th Century buildings. The Bedford Museum, located beside the County Courthouse, showcases Bedford’s rich history.

While in Bedford, be sure to stop by the Bedford Area Welcome Center. The Center is open daily 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and includes a gift shop, firefighter display, RV hook-ups, electric car charging station, LOVE sign, and more.

Visit DestinationBedfordVA.com or call (540) 587-5681 for more information.

You may also like