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Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Back to School!

Good afternoon everyone,

First, I want to send a giant THANK YOU out to everyone who has made this one of the best summers at the Memorial.  From the 70th Anniversary Ceremony to Day Camp to everyday visitation, we have been very busy on-site.  Hundreds of people have been on tours learning more about D-Day, the Bedford Boys, and the symbolism in the design of the Memorial.  I would also like to say THANK YOU to all our wonderful, dedicated volunteers who make all that we do possible.  They are the ones out there everyday leading tours, working in the gift store, and assisting in all the programming we do throughout the summer. 

Now that we are starting the new school year, the site is about to start filling up with students.  We offer special SOL-based programming for classrooms 3rd grade and up.  If you are close enough to plan a field trip to the Memorial, students will step back in time as they learn about D-Day and WWII in an authentic GPL military tent.  Starting with a broad overview of the history of WWII and what D-Day means in the larger context of the war, students will handle artifacts that connect them to the history they read and learn about in their classrooms.  Visits to the Memorial conclude with a tour of the Memorial by one of our highly trained tour guides. 

If you are too far for a field trip (or if field trips have been cut from your budget), we have a solution for you!  We now offer two options for distance learning.  The first is a traveling trunk.  We will send you a modified footlocker full of artifacts that relate to the homefront and the front lines, as well as several SOL-based lesson plans ready for use in your classroom.  The second option is a live, virtual programming.  Set up in a studio, the virtual programming is a way our education staff and volunteers can come to you.  Students will be able to interact in real time as they learn about WWII and D-Day. 

Students learning about life in WWII from WWII Veteran
We look forward to seeing all the students up here on-site to carry on the legacy of the largest amphibious invasion to history!  If you would like more information or to book an educational programming, please contact our education department at 540-587-3617 or via e-mail at 

Until next time,

Monday, August 4, 2014

Vote for Ssgt. John Schenk's Bible!

Hello everyone, 

I apologize for the lack of radio traffic over the last few weeks.  However, I have something really exciting to announce to you.  Beginning on Monday, August 4th you can vote for Virginia's Top 10 Endangered Artifact--where you may notice a familiar story: John Schenk and his Bible.  Click here to vote!!

Read more about the John's Bible and the importance of conservation below! 
Bible Belonging to Bedford Boy Nominated as Top 10 Endangered Artifact

Front interior of Bible
The National D-Day Memorial has nominated the Bible belonging to Bedford Boy John Schenk to the Virginia’s Top 10 Endangered Artifact competition.  This Bible was gifted to John by his step-mother, Rose Lewis Schenk, prior to the D-Day invasion. Assigned to the 29th Division, 116th Regiment, Company A, Ssgt. John Schenk landed in the first wave of the assault on Omaha Beach at 0630 with 34 young soldiers from Bedford, Virginia.  In his pocket, he carried this Bible—a physical connection to his family an ocean away—when he became part of the largest amphibious invasion in history along the Normandy coastline on June 6, 1944.

Tin cover on Bible
It is imperative to conserve artifacts such as Schenk’s Bible, according to Felicia Lowrance, Education Coordinator for the National D-Day Memorial.  “Historical pieces such as this create tangible connections to our shared past.  This Bible represents millions of family members and friends who would inevitably cheer the news of the successful invasion or grieve at the loss of loved one.”

Ivylyn Schenk had no idea her husband, John, lay buried on the beaches of Normandy when she composed her daily letter on June 25, 1944. She wrote “John, my darling. Well, it has been twenty-two months since we were married. It has seemed very long, and yet, unbelievably short in duration… the only constant thing about it is that I continue to love and appreciate you more and more each day.” At the time of this writing, her beloved husband was one of more than 4,000 Allied soldiers who had sacrificed their lives on D-Day to secure freedom for generations beyond their own.
Back of Bible

The Foundation is delighted to be selected for this preservation initiative conducted by the Virginia Association of Museums. Schenk’s Bible is currently housed in a climate-controlled environment to help protect from further deterioration.  “We are concerned with the conservation of this piece and ensuring that it is preserved to tell the story of the Bedford Boys and D-Day for future generations,” Lowrance said.
The Virginia Top 10 Endangered Artifact competition highlights unique artifacts throughout Virginia and the Washington, D.C. area.  Voting for artifacts will begin on August 4.  

Back interior of Bible

Until next time