On Thursday, June 6, the World War I and World War II Commemoration Commission will join the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford in marking the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

Bedford, which suffered the highest per capita losses in the nation on D-Day, will be the site of what may be the world’s last major gathering of D-Day and WWII veterans, and all are invited to join in the commemoration, which will include an aerial tribute, a wreath laying and a roll call of WWII veterans.

The full commemoration at the National D-Day Memorial will feature six days of commemorative activities honoring and preserving the memory of those whose sacrifice ensured our freedom.

Visit dday.org/75th/ for full details, including a schedule of events, registration and lodging information.

All WWII veterans are encouraged to register, so they can be recognized in the veteran roll call at the ceremony.

Sen. Frank Ruff, who serves as vice-chairman on the World War I and World War II Commemoration Commission, plans to go to Bedford to be with those who gather at the D-Day Memorial for the June 6th D-Day commemoration.

Currently, World War II veterans are dying at the rate of over 2,000 every day. The World War I and World War II Commemoration Commission is midway through its two-year recognition of the 100th and 75th anniversaries respectively.

“There is little expectation that enough survivors of those events 75 years ago will be able to attend future reunions. Therefore, we are transporting those survivors to Bedford and having several special events for them,” the senator said.

In October 1962, the movie “The Longest Day” was released detailing the events of D-Day, told on a grand scale from both the Allies and German points of view.

This past Memorial Day weekend we paid tribute to all those who have died in combat.

Now as the focus turns in the coming days to D-Day, we remember the many World War II veterans who served, many of them dying in combat.

As Sen. Ruff said, “We also must remember the widows and children of those troops. Their lives were torn apart in times of young hearts and often young children. Children that had but one parent to raise them when two are needed. We can not change what has happened to those families, but we must do what we can to help those families and the families of those who return with mental and physical problems that few can understand. Reach out to help them whenever you can.”

He invites the public to join him at the D-Day Monument on June 6 saying, “It is well designed and worth the time to visit.”

Paula I. Bryant is the editor of The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at pbryant@gazettevirginian.com.​

Paula I. Bryant is the editor of The Gazette-Virginian. Contact her at pbryant@gazettevirginian.com.