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Dick Elder Guide National D-Day Memorial

“The Freedom Fund” is proud to announce Dick Elder as the March 2020, “Friend of Freedom” award winner.

Growing up in the late 1940s and early 50s, Dick Elder knew his father was killed in World War II, however his father deployed to the war in Europe before Dick was born.  Sadly, Dick never learned any of the details about his father’s military service and death. One day, in the 1980’s, Dick’s uncle called and suggested he buy a copy of Stephen Ambrose’s book D-Day.  When Dick asked why, his uncle told him his father was named in the book as one of the first U.S. soldiers to land on Omaha Beach on D-Day. This amazing revelation started Dick’s personal journey to learn all he could about D-Day and his father’s service in WWII.

After moving to Virginia in 1995, Dick became aware of the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, VA, and decided he wanted to work there as a guide.  He has been volunteering at the memorial for 10 years and thoroughly enjoys the work because it’s a very meaningful way for him to honor the military service and sacrifice of his father.  In addition, the National D – Day Memorial is a wonderful tribute to the Bedford Boys whose service and sacrifice is both sad and uplifting.

“Working as a guide is a truly rewarding experience. One day I got a call from the Memorial telling me a visitor told them his father served in the 743rd Tank Battalion – which was also my father’s company – and would I be able to come down the next day to meet this man? My answer was, “Absolutely!  The next day when I met this visitor, I learned that his father knew my father and had very fond memories of him. During our meeting, he pulled out his cell phone and called a family member in Minnesota, whose father also served in the 743rd.  In fact, he named his son Ned after my father! Wow!”

Dick also teaches an Osher Life Long Learning Institute course; “Remembering D-Day – 75 Years Later” which he finds very rewarding.  He plans to keep working as a guide at the D-Day Memorial for as long as he can.   After all, one of the National D-Day Memorial Foundation’s mottos states; “The Greatest Tragedy of D-Day Would Be to Forget it”.

For Dick’s outstanding work to help us remember and understand D-Day, he is Gratitude Charlottesville’s March 2020 Friends of Freedom Award winner.

Each month, “The Freedom Fund”  Board of Directors will chose a FOF award winner to be featured on  Winners will get a trophy and sometimes a monetary award.  To nominate person or organization that promotes and protects freedom in our community, email us at gratitudecville@gmail.c

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