National D-Day Memorial Foundation responds to devatating fire at old Bedford Middle School

The school was one of the stops for the Bedford Boys Homefront Tour

Investigation underway into Bedford school fire
Investigation underway into Bedford school fire

BEDFORD, Va. – The old Bedford Middle School has historical ties.

Before it became a middle school it was first a high school, where the well-known Bedford Boys walked the hallways.

The fire Thursday morning sent shockwaves to organizers with the National D-Day Memorial Foundation, who have kept the boys’ stories alive.

The building is one of the stops for the Bedford Boys Homefront Tour.

There’s a plaque in front of the school commemorating the young men who died in WWII.

Though the plaque was unharmed, organizers with the National D-Day Memorial Foundation say the Bedford Boy’s story will still be told, just with a new tale.

“The tour by any means we’ll still drive by and talk about the history here. Hopefully, we’ll be talking about a redemption story come this spring. That would be a really nice thing to be able to incorporate the history, but also the future,” Angela Lynch, associate director of marketing, said.

The foundation’s president, April Cheek-Messier, released a statement about the fire saying,

“We are deeply saddened to see such an iconic structure in our community succumb to a devastating fire. The old middle school was an important cornerstone for generations in our community including some of our very own “Bedford Boys” who spent many hours within its walls. Leslie Abbott, John Clifton, Frank Draper, Earl Parker, Weldon Rosazza, John Schenk, Elmere Wright, and Grant Yopp were among the Bedford Boys who attended the high school and were later killed on D-Day. The class of 1944 erected a plaque on the grounds of the school to commemorate these young men and others from Bedford who died in World War II who had attended the school. It was a poignant reminder of sacrifice and the youthful generation who gave their all for the freedoms we enjoy today. Though the school stands damaged, it still stands, and we will remember the lives that graced its halls for generations – as well as the precious freedom that so many within it were willing to preserve.”

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