D-Day Veterans Recognized During Annual Ceremony - FOX 21/27 WFXR Roanoke/WWCW Lynchburg News, Weather

D-Day Veterans Recognized During Annual Ceremony

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The annual National D-Day Memorial anniversary ceremony was moved inside the Bedford Elementary School because of rain.

"It was different," said D-Day veteran Buck Pate. "I don't think I've ever been up here when it was raining before and I enjoyed it a lot.

"I served on LCT, that's Atlantic Craft Tank 649, and we took in eight British tanks and landed on Gold Beach about 9 o'clock in the morning."

Pate drove from Greensboro to attend the 69th anniversary event. He was one of more than a dozen D-Day veterans in attendance.

"When I first go here, I bawled like a baby and couldn't help it," Pate said.

Those who were lost that day were also remembered.

"Tears almost come to your eye when you think about the loss not only of our family, but of all these other families in Bedford and other communities too," said Lucille Hoback Boggess, who had two brothers killed on D-Day: Bedford and Raymond Hoback. She shared the story of her brother's Bible, found on the beach by another soldier and sent back to their home. It was given to Raymond Hoback by their mother.

"I think our lives changed that day and I don't know if they were ever quite the same," Boggess said. "I know my mother, because my brothers weren't here to do picnics and things, she didn't think we should."

"In less than 30 years, we'll likely not see another World War II veteran amongst us, so it's important for us, this generation and future generations, to tell the story," said 29th Division Commander Major General Charles Whittington, who also spoke at the event.

"It brings back memories," Pate said. "That single day changed the world forever, I hope. At least so far it has and I think in my lifetime, we'll never see a world war again."

The National D-Day Memorial also announced their next fundraiser, for which their goal is $250,000. They are building a statue tribute to the Bedford Boys called "Homage". It will be dedicated during next year's annual ceremony. The sculpture will be placed in front of the Blue Star Garden and it will include plaques and a granite base.

For more information, visit The National D-Day Memorial website. If you would like to donate toward the Homage piece, you can call the foundation directly at 540-586-3329.