Area residents given chance to relive the days of WWII

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By Tom Wilmoth

The people and places of World War II will come to life next week in downtown Bedford.

    The Bedford Museum and Genealogical Library will present its annual Memorial Walk Thursday, Oct. 15 on the streets of downtown Bedford with the theme “A Walk Through World War II Memory Lane.”

     There will be nine scenes including the swearing in of the recruits on the front steps of the court house, the home front, blacks’ involvement in the war, nurses during the war, pilot training in Bedford and the arrival of the news to Bedford to the fate of its men at D-Day. For that Elizabeth Teass, James Teass and Gene Montgomery will play themselves as they were all three present when the telegrams arrived at Green’s Drugstore.

    “It’s a perspective of Bedford before, during and after the war,” Doug Cooper said of the Walk. It will cover both the war and the home front during the war. Along with the scene where they are swearing in the boys from the county there will be a scene with a family sitting around a radio listening to news of the war and discussing ration stamps.

    Another scene will feature soldiers writing letters home and actual letters from World War II will be read. One scene will feature   the  first  black  soldier  to  die  in Bedford County and another on Mayor Russell J. Otey, who also served during WWII.

    The Memory Walk over the years has featured a variety of themes featuring historical characters in Bedford and stories about them.

    There’s also going to be a scene on the airplane crash on the mountain, including the air force training that was done at the Montvale Airport.

    The final scene will be a talk by a polish immigrant who lives in Bedford that spent time in the work camps in Poland. “He will tell why the sacrifice was important and what a wonderful country we live in,” stated Cooper, manager of the Museum.

    Tours will begin at the Museum every 10 minutes and the tours will last about 45 minutes total. Rain Date is Oct. 22. Tickets are $8 in advance (tickets at Museum), $10 at the door. Children under 12 are free, ages 12-18 and students $5. Call 540-586-4520 for more information.

    “We hope that the people will see Bedford’s involvement in WWII from all angles,” Cooper said.