02 December 2011

Alex Kershaw. The Bedford Boys: One American Town's Ultimate D-Day Sacrifice. Cambridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2003.

Southside Virginia is known for many things: the controversial connection to the groundbreaking HeLa cells that have saved many lives, the powerful meaning Virginia's poet laureate Kelly Cherry conveys in her poetry, the unusual history of moonshine in Franklin County. Unfortunately, Southside Virginia also has the sad distinction of being home to the "Bedford Boys," the group of men who perished on D-Day at Omaha Beach in the Battle of Normandy.
From AmblingBooks.com

Alex Kershaw's documentation of this sad event is more than just another history book. Kershaw heavily researched the town and county of Bedford and how this tremendous loss affected its citizens. And the loss was tremendous: in a single day, twenty-one men from this small community of just over three thousand people were killed. By giving biographies of all involved, the author offers a human side to the statistic that made Bedford's loss the most severe on that pivotal day in June of 1944. The Bedford Boys presents a sound introduction to people interested in visiting the National D-Day Memorial which was opened in Bedford in 2001 because of its significant role in history.

Thinking about sacrifices veterans have made on our behalf is important any day of the year, but we make special note of this gratitude each year on November 11th. This year there was a unique connection to the "Bedford Boys" story. Annie Elizabeth Teass, the Western Union telegraph operator who received the horrifying news - one telegram right after the other - notifying each family of their beloved's death, passed away on November 8th in Bedford. According to her obituary, "the horror of the tragedy was something she never forgot." Kershaw writes about Ms. Teass in this account, and while we should always remember and honor those who serve our country, we should also never forget how their sacrifice affects their loved ones and communities.
Find The Bedford Boys in the Charlotte County Library catalog.

Have you read The Bedford Boys? Please share your opinion about the book and this summary.

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