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Where were the local bands?
I am so proud to be a part of the wonderful Bedford Community. The celebration and honors for our veterans this past week was awe inspiring. I can’t say enough about the staff and volunteers at the D-Day Memorial. They do a fabulous job year around, but they outdid themselves last week.
The parade was wonderful. I loved the confetti that was thrown over the participants. I loved seeing our men in uniform, the veterans, the active duty and the reenactors. I had tears several times.
And the bands were wonderful. E.C. Glass and Brookville made us proud.
Shall I stop there? No I’m not going to. I don’t want to put a negative pall over the celebrations. But where were our Bedford high school bands? I have heard a lot of finger pointing here, but as far as I am concerned, there is no excuse. This was totally disrespectful.
We were entertaining people from all over the country, yes even from other countries. Many traveled thousands of miles to be here in our little town. But our students didn’t show up to play a few patriotic songs. I wonder if they even know the importance of what we were celebrating.
I’m not blaming the students. There should have been an adult somewhere in the administrative office that said, “You will be performing on June 7 in a parade to honor those who risked their lives, and the many who died at D-Day so you can be free to enjoy your life.”
Now was that so hard?
As I was caring for and talking to some of our wonderful WW-II veterans at the 70th D-Day commemoration, the basic difference between their generation and today struck me with new force.
Prior to & during the WW-II era, we had a common belief in God, that God was good, that we were one nation under God, that we were in His hands, that life was therefore basically good. If times were hard, God was there to help us, and we would overcome adverse circumstances. We had a moral compass; there was a Right to fight for. There was something eternal, much larger than any of ourselves, to give ourselves to and, if necessary, to die for.
Contrast that mentality with today’s. The emergence of moral and philosophical relativism has rotted us from within. There is now no overall consensus about what is good, true and moral. What was once our mainstay is now thrust to the side to make room for a cacophony of shrill voices, all claiming to be a truth of some kind.
As a result, we are now a nation that is divided, confused and directionless. We value self-fulfillment and instant gratification over long-term goals. There is no longer anything larger than us to motivate us as a nation. There is nothing ultimate to live for - or to die for. We are weary of life because we are weary of seeking pleasure, which has proved elusive.
However, there is reason for optimism. It doesn’t have to be this way. We can turn back to our historic faith foundation and regain our unity, the value of the individual, our moral compass and our national sense of direction and purpose. The Good Book says, “righteousness exalts a nation”. Let’s try it!
Alan Denekas, MD
World War II (from 1939 – 1945) happened when a few countries wanted to take over the other countries in Europe. The biggest bully was Germany and was ruled by Hitler, who did bad things to the people he wanted to control. When the countries said “no you can’t take over” World War II began.
Countries that were friends with Europe, like United State (us) and Great Brittan, Canada, and Australia, wanted to help the people in the countries in Europe who were being bullied by Hitler so they sent soldiers to help. To get there they had to go across the ocean.
When they first came to fight on June 6, 1944, a lot of them came in boats to a beach called Omaha Beach in Normandy France. They came in boats and planes to fight Hitler.
Things did not go well there at the beach. Right over the hill from the beach Hitler’s soldiers were waiting. About 10,000 of the friendly soldiers were hurt. Over 4000 of Europe’s friends were killed there that day.
In those days, when boys signed up to be soldiers, they sent them all together to the same place. Sometimes all the boys in one family or one town all went to war together.
In a small town called Bedford, Virginia, (a little more than a two hour drive from Winchester) many of the young men had signed up to be soldiers to go help Europe. There were only 3,200 people in the town of Bedford and 19 of them were killed on the beach that day.
Bedford had the biggest percentage of their town killed than anywhere else, so they built a big national memorial there with statues of the soldiers. This Friday, June 6, 2014, will be exactly 70 years since the soldiers were killed on the beach. So I am going to an event at the memorial to remember and honor the soldiers.
The reason this is important to me is that after D Day my grandfather (who is 92) was one of the soldiers who marched across France to Germany in to fight against Hitler and free prisoners. Also, my friend Ron is from Bedford and his mother knew many of the young men who were killed on that beach at Normandy.
Frederick Douglas Elementary