Thousands gather to honor, celebrate veterans in Bedford for Veterans Day

Local elementary students paid tribute in songs

BEDFORD, Va. – For Veterans Day, thousands came to celebrate veterans at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford.

Local elementary students paid tribute in songs, while high school students brought in the flags.

A keynote speaker from London addressed the crowd about his new book, "Sand and Steel: A New History of D-Day," and said the untold number of how many people died before D-Day needs to be told.

Peter Caddick-Adams writes in "Sand and Steel" more than 4,000 people died on D-Day, but 10,000 soldiers died during the training before the war.

Caddick-Adams says the training was brutal, but necessary.

“That’s what kept the casualties on D-Day very low. So really, I think we need to be paying tribute to those who died in the training and preparation as on that first day of combat,” Caddick-Adams said.

At the end of the program, veterans lined up to be embraced and thanked by local students and community.