World War II veterans honored during D-Day ceremony

Published: Jun. 6, 2023 at 7:31 PM EDT
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BEDFORD, Va. (WDBJ) - Hundreds of people visited the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford Tuesday on the 79th anniversary of the allied invasion of Normandy.

They recognized World War II veterans in attendance and honored the sacrifice of those who died during the pivotal assault.

98-year-old John Eakin was thinking of men with whom he served.

“My friends who didn’t make it back. It’s terrible,” he said.

96-year-old D-Day veteran Earnest Fulcher told Brent Epperson of WBRG radio about joining the Navy when he was just 15 years old.

“They said, well we’re going to let you go on in, but we’re going to send you to Charleston, West Virginia, and said they’ll probably send you home,” Fulcher explained. “I said I ain’t got none, so I’ll just stay here.”

Gov. Glenn Youngkin spoke during the program, took part in a wreath laying ceremony and met with the World War II veterans who attended the ceremony.

“I couldn’t help but reflect on my own grandfather, who when he was 16 lied on his form and went to serve in the Pacific, who I’m named after,” Youngkin told reporters after the ceremony. “And so I’m just continually reminded of this greatest generation, this generation of heroes.”

“This is about a memory that needs to be preserved,” Younkgin added. “This is about recognizing the ordinary men and women that do extraordinary things.”