I grew up on “Call of Duty” and “Medal of Honor,” and after beating the games, I would go out and pretend to be those soldiers.
We were taught to respect the military in my house. My dad and older brother introduced me to HBO’s “Band of Brothers” when I was 13, and it’s still a common topic of conversation after all these years.
When I went to college, I studied drama and theater (much to my mother’s dismay). The degree I got didn’t guarantee much financial security, but I learned to tell a good story.
Of course, I’ve been in some good stories too, and one of the best I’ve come across in my college career was the Bedford Boys story.
I was lucky to have the main role.
To research my role, I read books, listened to interviews, visited memorials, and spoke to residents of the town of Bedford, Virginia. In the aftermath, I fell in love with the men of the 116th Infantry Regiment, Company A of the US Army’s 29th US Division.
The men of Company A were not saints. They were just small town people. In their ranks were farmers, factory workers, grocers, husbands and fathers.
Most of these boys had never crossed the county in which they were born, and their limited life experience was reflected in the nature of their aspirations. Most longed to marry their high school sweetheart, raise a family, and provide for the people they loved.
None of them aspired to become iconic figures in a world war, but that’s exactly what happened.
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The National D-Day Memorial is located in Bedford, Virginia because this small, rural town lost more soldiers per capita in the Normandy Invasion than any other town or city in America. And not only were the lives of these brave soldiers destroyed, but the community of Bedford had a generation of young men torn from the fabric of their tight-knit society.
As I spoke with the family members of the men who died on D-Day, I heard in their stories and their voices the ever poignant loss of men like Ray O. Stevens, Bedford Hoback and Jack Powers. This group of country boys have put their lives on hold to fight for their friends, family and country.
And in doing so, they have made the world a freer and better place. But in doing so, they and their beloved hometown have made a staggering sacrifice.
In the four years since I had the privilege of playing the role of a Bedford boy and learning the details of this story, I have had a growing desire to honor them by telling their story to a wider audience. With my dear friend Joel, who also played a Bedford Boy, I’m co-writing and producing a short film about the Bedford Boys.
“The Boys of Bedford” will be shown to producers and investors in an effort to get the green light on a miniseries that will allow us to fully explore the incredible sacrifices made by these men and their community.
We ask you to help us tell their story. In order to raise the necessary funds for the production of our short film, we have launched a Startup project to complete the project.
Your donations will help cement the legacy of a courageous community and the valiant Boys of Bedford.
Josh Reed is from Danville, Virginia, the youngest of three. His parents are pastors at a local church, and he graduated from Liberty University in 2020 with a degree in theater performance. He is working on the script for “Boys of Bedford” with his friend Joel Hadden, another Liberty graduate. Please follow him on Instagram and Twitter.