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National D-Day Memorial launches campaign to honor Bob Slaughter

By Tim Saunders, tsaunders@wdbj7.com
Published On: Dec 24 2013 04:18:09 PM EST
Updated On: Nov 14 2013 08:59:48 PM EST

Slaughter fought to make sure the story of D-Day was never forgotten. Friends and supporters want to make sure his story lives on, too.

BEDFORD, Va. -

When visitors tour the National D-Day Memorial, they pass by dozens of statues.

Each represents an important figure, who played a crucial role in the D-Day invasion.

"It's much easier for them to have a visual that they can see," said Twila Ross, a memorial volunteer.  "They can better relate, we think, to the experience."

Sharing the experience of D-Day was a passion of Bob Slaughter, the man many call the "father" of the memorial.

"If it wasn't for his drive, ambition, and perseverance, we wouldn't be here as an institution," said Jim McCann, site operations manager for the memorial.

Slaughter, a D-Day veteran, was a leader who helped the memorial go from idea to reality.  He spent decades campaigning to build the monument we see today, as a lasting tribute to the soldiers who fought and died in the liberation of France.

"I think there is a sincere desire on our part to recognize, not only those who fought on D-Day, but to recognize people like Bob who helped bring this memorial here," McCann said.

To do that the memorial is giving Slaughter a statue of his own.  It will sit on a pedestal, across from the memorial gift shop.

"This is the gateway for people who go on tours," said McCann.  "We want Bob there to greet them as they come on site."

Giving visitors one more visual to convey the D-Day story.

"He is the face of D-Day," said McCann.  "He is one of those men who crossed the beach as a young man and was, of course, thankful enough to make it home."

Memorial leaders have a goal of raising $100,000 to create a bust of Slaughter  They hope to unveil it at a ceremony next year on Memorial Day.

Click here to make a donation.