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June 3: D-Day Memorial awaits a savior

On the eve of the 65th anniversary of D-day, the foundation that runs the National D-day Memorial is on the brink of financial ruin. Donations are down in the poor economy. The primary base of support — World War II veterans — is dying off. And the privately funded memorial is struggling to draw visitors because it's hundreds of miles from a major city. Facing the prospect of cutting staff and hours, the memorial's president believes its only hope for survival is to be taken over by the National Park Service or by a college or university. So far, he has no takers. "All institutions are in various states of privation of one kind or another," foundation president William McIntosh said. "Everybody's endowment has been slapped around." The memorial opened eight years ago in Bedford, Va., a community about 115 miles west of Richmond that suffered among the nation's highest per-capita losses on D-day. Several thousand visitors are expected at the memorial Saturday to mark the anniversary. The outdoor museum tells the story of the Normandy invasion in sculptures of soldiers and their leaders. Air jets shoot water to mimic gunfire as bronze figures struggle for shore in a reflecting pool. Some 10,000 Allied troops were killed or wounded in the costly landing. Expenses run about $2.2 million yearly, only $600,000 of which comes from visitors. McIntosh said layoffs and reduced hours will be necessary in a few weeks, but even those measures will not be enough to keep the gates open for long.

June 3: D-Day Memorial awaits a savior 06/03/09 [Last modified: Thursday, June 4, 2009 11:08am]
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