Madison Heights, VA - D-Day veteran Bob Sales of Madison Heights will deliver the address on the 70th Anniversary of the Allied invasion at The National D-Day Memorial. Sales shared his memories of that day with ABC 13.
"On the 6th, we got up at 4 o'clock in the morning. I went around to see all the boys that I knew from Lynchburg that we could, kidding and joking. Everybody was scared to death but they were putting on a big front.
When we got in close to shore, the captain said jump up on the edge and see what you see. I told him A Company was going to land ahead of us. I said there's nothing but smoke, and fire and looks like dead bodies.
I was fourth. I went off the side of the ramp. The boat was ran up and it threw me off the side and I went down deep. When I come up, I looked back and man they were just cutting them down as they come off the craft.
The captain come up and he hollered 'I'm hit.' and I started towards him and he went down and by the time I got over to where he went down, there won't nothing but blood bubbling up and I said ain't nothing I can do for him.
Here's where I found my friend Dick Wright, who had gone off the boat ahead of me. I knew he was hit. But he made it to the beach and was lying in the sand and when he seen me he pushed up on his elbows and hollered I'm hit, help me. I started towards him and a sniper seen him moving and hit him right in the head. His face just fell in the sand. Well I knew that the guy seen me too, so I buried my head. He didn't get me and I just kept crawling through dead bodies, one to another.
The bodies were washing in. The tide was coming in and the bodies were washing. We just pulled the bodies and we found a live one every once in a while.
There was a doctor. I seen the ramp go down and he had flaming red hair. That machine gun hit him and that helmet flew off and I remember that hair.
I never think of them as being old you know like I am. I still think of them as they were, young men. They say that D-Day was the longest day, and it was a long one, but there were a lot of long days. I sit and think. Did this really happen? Did I dream is or what? I just can't believe it happened. All those boys are dead and 70 years gone by."
Sales was decorated with the Legion of Honor earlier this year. He was presented the medal by French President Francois Hollande during his state visit.