Bedford community hosting “Welcome Home” parade for National Guard soldiers

Published: Feb. 3, 2023 at 9:04 PM EST
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BEDFORD, Va. (WDBJ) - More than a thousand Kentucky and Virginia National Guard Soldiers, 130 from Bedford, returned from a one-year deployment in November 2022.

“On this upcoming Saturday, February 11, is their first drill weekend back at their home armory right here on East Main Street,” said Ken Parker, co-founder and co-curator of the Bedford Boys Tribute Center.

Task Force Red Dragon was Virginia’s largest National Guard deployment since World War II.

“There’s the historical link of 80 years ago, when on February the 18th, 1941, our beloved 38 Bedford Boys boarded troop trains from Liberty Station and went to Fort Meade, Maryland to begin their federal service as members of the regular United States Army,” said Parker.

The 130 soldiers from Bedford are also part of Alpha Company of the First Battalion 116th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, the same company as the Bedford Boys.

“All 130 soldiers of today’s Alpha Company are very cognizant of the historical significance that they bring to the table. And we’re talking a group of 130 proud soldiers that would go anywhere in the world to defend this country, because they’re standing on the shoulders of our beloved Bedford Boys and the legacy of them cannot be denied,” said Parker.

The Bedford community answered the call to support the soldiers while they were deployed. Saturday, February 11, the Bedford community wants to say thank you in-person with a parade.

“It shows how much they’re loved, needed, respected. And this town really just stepped up to the plate to make sure they got what they needed over there. And it meant a lot to the town. And it meant a lot to the young men and women who were serving over there,” said Linda Parker, co-founder and co-curator of the Bedford Boys Tribute Center.

As the town prepares to celebrate the soldiers during the parade, they’ll also take a moment to honor those who came before them.

The parade will be through the streets of Bedford Saturday, Feb. 11 starting at 11 a.m. and for more information head to the Bedford Boys Tribute Center’s Facebook here.