Then we got off the B. R. Parkway and traveled on some of Virginia's most beautiful back roads and had no idea where we were, but ended up at the Booker T. Washington Memorial Estate in middle Virginia. The slave house reminded us of a horrible time period in our country that we're glad is behind us.
Then on to Bedford, VA and our country's largest D-Day Memorial. Our guide was the son of one of the heroes who fought on that 6th day of June in Normandy. He was very emotional as he talked about the 23 Bedford boys who lost their lives on Omaha Beach. Then he lost it when he talked of how his dad survived but lost so many of his close friends that day. There were many quivering lips in our group of 20 or so, and we were two of those facial expressions couldn't conceal the emotion and gratitude we felt for our own fathers and all the fathers who saved the world in the second world war.
After Bedford, we drove westward toward West Virginia. We made two random stops around Buchanon, VA. First we saw a long suspension bridge across the James River made for pedestrians. We said, "let's do it." So we made a u-turn and walked and bobbed and weaved across the swaying bridge - a little scary but we made it. Barry struggled a little and kissed the ground when we made it back to solid land. Not far from there we stopped a few minutes to watch a few outs of a summer college baseball game between the Carolina Pirates and the Roanoke Rails. These young men have dreams of making it to the majors but from what we saw they better have a plan B.
We're spending the night in Beckley, West Virginia and are thinking of touring a coal mine museum in the morning. But for tonight I think I'll give thanks one more time to our men and women of the greatest generation who won the war of all wars.
By the way, all of you who said "Hang your head down Tom Dooley" - you were wrong. Below is a photo of the original lyrics we found during a stop on the Blue Ridge Parkway.