Bedford is an incorporated town located within Bedford County in the U.S. state of Virginia. It serves as the county seat of Bedford County. As of the 2010 census, the population was 6,622. It is part of the Lynchburg Metropolitan Statistical Area.
Known as the "place that sells itself," Bedford boasts the Blue Ridge Mountains to the North, Smith Mountain Lake to the South, Lynchburg to the East, and I-81/Roanoke to the West.
Bedford is home to the National D-Day Memorial (despite the "National" in its name, the memorial is owned and operated by a non-governmental, non-profit, education foundation). The United States Congress warranted that this memorial would be the nation's D-Day Memorial and President Bill Clinton authorized this effort in September 1996. President George W. Bush dedicated this memorial as the nation's D-Day memorial on June 6, 2001. Bedford lost more residents per capita in the Normandy landings than any other American community. Nineteen soldiers from Bedford, whose 1944 population was about 3,200, were killed on D-Day. Three other Bedford soldiers died later in the Normandy campaign. Proportionally this community suffered the nation's severest D-Day losses.
Bedford maintains relationships with 11 communities on the Normandy Coast of France. One sister city, Trévières, France, sent Bedford an exact replica of its own World War I memorial statue. The face of the statue was damaged in World War II by artillery fire from US forces retaking the town. The Bedford statue also bears these wounds and is erected on the grounds of the National D-Day Memorial. Bedford is also home to Poplar Forest, the rural retreat of Thomas Jefferson. These and other factors have given rise to Bedford as "the place that sells itself."
Bedford was originally known as Liberty, "named after the Colonial victory over Cornwallis at Yorktown." Founded as a village in 1782, Liberty became Bedford County's seat of government, replacing New London which had become part of the newly-formed Campbell County. Liberty became a town in 1839 and in 1890 changed its name to Bedford City. In 1912 Bedford reverted to town status, then in 1968, again became a city. On September 14, 2011, the Bedford City Council voted to transition into a town, ending its independent city status. The supervisors of Bedford County also voted to accept the town of Bedford as part of the county when it lost city status. The transition occurred on July 1, 2013.