D-Day memorial feels strain of recession

From NBC12 News

BEDFORD, VA (NBC12) - The foundation that runs the D-Day memorial apparently is on the brink of financial ruin.

The small town of Bedford, Virginia, suffered among country's greatest losses on D-Day.

Out of a population of just 3200, 19 soldiers in the D-Day invasion.

That's why the National D-Day Memorial was opened here in 2001.

87-year-old Mills Hobbs is one of the few surviving members of the 115th infantry.

He remembers the invasion in vivid detail.

"You didn't know where any bullet was coming from. Where any shell was coming from. What direction. Aimed at who or nothing," he said. "You only knew that you could be the subject that it was seeking 24 hours a day seven days a week."

But now the very memorial honoring Hobbs and the thousands of other soldiers who fought that day could itself be lost.

A victim of the struggling economy.

"I know things are sort of tight because of the recession, but everybody should throw in a little bit to keep this monument open. It is absolutely fabulous," said visitor Robin Halsey.

The memorial is privately funded and donations, which make up more than half of its funding, are way down.

The memorial foundation's president says the situation is dire.

"Obviously, this is something nobody wants and something nobody wants to contemplate on the 65th anniversary of D-Day," said memorial foundation president William McIntosh.

So he's begging for help approaching universities about taking it over, but no luck.

Congressman Tom Periello, who represents Bedford, introduced a bill this week to transfer the site to the National Park Service, but that could take years.

And time is something the memorial and its biggest base of support, World War II veterans, don't have.

"We were just like brothers. No.matter what," Hobbs said. "I hope they learn that freedom ain't free and that they will never forget it, never forget it."

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