The National D-Day Memorial in Bedford commemorated the 77th anniversary of D-Day with three days of virtual and on-site programming.

The Memorial kicked off the commemorative weekend with a virtual panel discussion June 4 at 1 p.m. with three renowned historians. The panel included John McManus, author of “The Dead and Those About to Die,” Joe Balkoski, author of “Beyond the Beachhead,” and Mitchell Yockelson, author of “The Paratrooper Generals.” Their discussion centered on various elements of the invasion, the impact of D-Day and why it remains relevant today. The virtual panel discussion can be viewed at www.dday.org.

On Saturday, June 5, the Memorial hosted a series of activities on site for visitors to enjoy during the day. On-site events included a book signing by award winning author and filmmaker Rick Beyer, writer, producer, and director of the film “The Ghost Army,” music throughout the day by the 29th Division Band, historical displays, tours, children’s activities and a Memorial tour of the Necrology Wall by John Long, director of education, which includes information on the latest additions to the Memorial wall and little-known facts about the fatalities on D-Day.

The Memorial also scheduled special guest veteran Luciano “Louis” Graziano, who was part of the third wave on D-Day on Omaha Beach. He is the last known witness to the German surrender, which ended hostilities in Europe in WWII. Graziano was available to sign copies of his book “A Patriot’s Memoirs of WWII.”

Read more about this in the current issue of the Smith Mountain Eagle newspaper. Pick up a copy or subscribe at www.smithmountaineagle.com/subscriber_services to view the full article in the print and/or e-edition version.

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