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Man connects with late father by volunteering at D-Day Memorial

The National D-Day Memorial in Bedford runs on about 100 volunteers and the time they give back.

One man, in particular, found his way there in retirement, but the connection he made to D-Day started at birth.

Dick Elder volunteers at the memorial once a week.

He walks tour groups around the property, detailing the events of June 6, 1944.

But for him the history of that day is personal.

His father took part in the fighting, but Elder never got to meet his dad.

“My father participated in D-Day, so I've always been interested in what happened there. Sadly, he was killed shortly after D-Day, so I never really got to talk to him, but I was interested in finding more about books and when I moved to Virginia I found that the memorial was here,” Elder said.

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For Elder, learning about Operation Overlord has meant learning about his dad.

He showed up for volunteer orientation nearly a decade ago and keeps coming back week after week.

“This felt like a place I should be,” Elder said.

Elder has led hundreds of tours around this memorial, learning recently in an email that he has left quite an impact on visitors.

“They remembered my story about my dad and they said at the time that ‘if we ever go to Normandy we will go visit your father's grave,’ so I wrote them back and gave them all the details and thanked them for that,” Elder said.

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About 60,000 people visit the National D-Day Memorial each year to learn about the sacrifice made in the world's largest ever air, land and sea operation.

It's a huge part of our history, but the memorial has connected Elder to his family history, even leading him to a man who knew his late father.

“He knew my father and admired him so much that he named his son after my father,” said Elder. “The D-Day Memorial really helps connect people and helps us remember what happened.”


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