Ray Nance passed away Sunday, 19 APR 2009.
Who is Ray Nance?, you may ask. Ray Nance was the last surviving member of a group which became known as the "Bedford Boys".
Bedford is a small town in Virginia. On 6 JUN 1944 the town lost a significant portion of its young male population, literally in a matter of minutes.
The Bedford Boys were a group of childhood friends who signed up in the 29th Infantry Division (National Guard). When Uncle Sam informed them that they had been activated to go to the war in Europe not one of them ran to Canada, faked a disease, shot himself in the foot...They put their chins out and did what they knew was their duty to their country.
Say what you want about National Guard, but the 29th Division waded ashore on Normandy and straight into a meat grinder.
In less than an hour 19 young men from a small town were killed. Within 12 hours, two more died.
They lost 22 men out of 30. It was the highest percentage loss of any town in America that day.
It's said that the Western Union messenger spent an entire day in Bedford delivering telegrams.
Ray Nance was the last of one of the finest groups of young men to walk the planet.