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Bedford educators work to preserve D-Day story for future generations

Published On: Jun 04 2014 05:05:33 PM EDT   Updated On: Jun 04 2014 08:46:46 PM EDT

Educators in our region are working hard to preserve the memories of D-Day survivors, before it's too late.


It's pretty common at the National D-Day Memorial to see a school bus unloading students.

The site offers an educational field trip, where visitors can learn about true American heroes.

"They did something good for freedom, so that Germany and the other Axis powers wouldn't take over the world," said Kevin Nguyen, a sixth grader at Wythe County's Scott Memorial Middle School who visited the memorial Monday.

As kids photograph the bronze statues and scenic views, educators hope they'll learn a thing or two.

"We bring the story of D-Day to life, through the memorial and the sculptures that are on site," explained Felicia Lowrance, education coordinator for the memorial.

Tour guides at the memorial are trained to give a detailed, but relatable explanation of what happened on D-Day.

"It is a watershed moment," Lowrance said of D-Day.  "It is a major turning point of World War II."

One way the memorial preserves the D-Day story is by interviewing veterans, sometimes at public events.

Time is running out to hear first person accounts.  An estimated 550 World War II veterans die in the United States every day.

"That's why it's so important for us to be here," said Lowrance.  "To hold on and remember (the D-Day story), and teach it to future generations."

Teaching isn't limited to the memorial itself.

The D-Day foundation offers "virtual field trips," where educators give interactive presentations using web cameras.

"I can come on and have a 45 minute to an hour conversation with them about D-Day and why it is so important," Lowrance said.

Underscoring that importance is the goal of every program the memorial offers.

"To remember the valor, fidelity, and sacrifice of the soldiers," said Lowrance.  "To teach about it every day, so that they are honored and remembered."

Later this month the memorial will offer a "drop-in day camp," where students can get immersed in World War II history and have some fun learning about the science and technology behind D-Day.