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No in-person D-Day ceremony has financial, emotional impact on Bedford

Annual ceremony can draw thousands of people to Bedford

BEDFORD, Va. – For the first time, the annual D-Day ceremony in Bedford will be virtual, which means a big loss in potential revenue for businesses in the town.

There was no crowd Friday at the Bedford Boys Tribute Center, adding insult to injury after the past few months.

“Being closed these months, we’ve lost a lot of revenue coming in to sustain and pay the rent and everything," said Bedford Boys Tribute Center Co-Curator Linda Parker.

She said the community has rallied together to help support the center.

“That’s this town. This is Bedford. A small town, but they have a true love for the Bedford Boys and the people that live in this town," Parker said.

As the coronavirus spread, she knew the chance of having an in-person ceremony this year was slim.

“To take this away from people, that’s really been hard on them, especially going up to the D-Day Memorial, coming here to the Bedford Boys Tribute Center, being able to go to the graveyard," Parker said.

At the restaurant Azul, the lack of an in-person ceremony isn’t a big financial concern.

“We’ve had better numbers since the coronavirus than we’ve had in the four and a half years that we’ve been open," said night manager Kelly Daniel.

Emotionally, though, not having the traditional ceremony is tough.

But while the ceremony is different this year, the honor and respect for the 20 young men who made the ultimate sacrifice 76 years ago hasn’t changed.

“It’s just a really emotional thing. The citizens of this county are amazing. They’re amazing. They’ll never forget them," Daniel said.

To watch the virtual D-Day ceremony, click here.