COLLEVILLE-SUR-MER, FRANCE – Wherever he goes, Ray Lambert wears his purple hat with the words "D-Day Survivor," embroidered in gold. And wherever he goes, he is celebrated.
The mansquakes and the demands of the people start as soon as he arrives at the gateway of the Role-Durham International Airport. He is on his way to Normandy to celebrate 75 years ago when he won the right to wear this hat to join what is likely to be the last great collection of heroes from the liberation of Europe.
Captain. Mark Paul asks him to come to the registration desk, then takes the microphone in his hand: "Mr. Lambert had the 1st Infantry Division in Omaha Beach on D-Day," he said. "It is an honor to do this today on our flight to Paris. So, if you can give him a big hand, we will really appreciate it. "
The crowd of the gate stands and gives Lambert the applause
Crew members put a picture for him. He has submitted a miniature flag.
"God bless you," said Genia Pulos, clutching his hand.
In June 1944, the Seven Lakes, North Carolina, was a 2nd medal battalion, the 16th Infantry Regiment, part of the 1st Armies Division, the Great Red. For many years, Lambert did not want to talk about the horrors he had seen and experienced. But now he thinks it's his holy duty to share his story.
Next week he will do just that. He will also be welcomed by the President of the United States, kissed by women from all over the world, embraced as a brother by today's soldiers. And he will experience the glory and nightmare of his heroic moment. "
" I did what I was called to do, "he writes in" Every Hero, "his first book, published weeks before the anniversary." As a doctor, my job was to save people and lead others doing the same. I was proud of this job and I stayed that way. parade …
"It's my job to remember now, not for me but for others."
Although Lambert does not want money – he was a successful businessman after the war – he and Darrell Simpson, Lambert's neighbor, friend and GP, chose to fly a coach, but the crew would have nothing to do by modernizing Lambert to first class. over is much better than the previous one, "says the man.
"Well, it will certainly be," says Lambert with a chuckle. "Much better."
Before departure there is another message for their special guest – and another applause.
This is an eight-hour flight, but between constant desire and expectation, Lambert gets only 20 minutes of sleep.
June 4 – D-Day Minus Two:
The classroom at Ecole Publique, in the ancient stone town of Nonant, is decorated with the flags of the Allied Forces. On the wall beside the door there is a photograph of Lambert in uniform, the army garrison hat, curved under a glistening angle, thin whiskers on his upper lip.
Lambert is accompanied, as always, by the host and his best friend, Christoph. Coquel. Lambert met 15 years ago with former French army commander and gendarmerie lieutenant colonel when Cocuel served as an informal interpreter at the 60th anniversary celebration.
During his many visits to France, Lambert never took more than the language. So Cocuel will act as a mediator with the kids.
A child asks for his strongest memories of the war. Lambert tells of disobedience to the order to save two men from a burning tank just before exploding and to go into a minefield to take an early man – an action that General Omar Bradley himself will award to Lambert the second of his Silver stars.
He tells how on D-Day, when the ramp of the landing ship withdrew from Omaha, he was almost instantly hit in the right hand and deeply immersed in the water to avoid the machine.
Children ask: What did they eat? Has it hurt you when you were injured? Were you afraid to die? "" When you are in battle, you do not think so much about death, "says Lambert to the children. "Our belief was that we were good boys fighting for the destruction of evil, that country was then ruled by the evil." 19659005] Another child asks if Lambert had nightmares about Normandy
"When I go to look at the beaches in Omaha, I remember all my friends who were killed there, and when I look at the English Channel and the water is rough, I sometimes think I can hear voices, but that's just in my mind, of course.
At the end of the program, the kids rummaged at the front table. He presented him with a box of chocolates and a box of cookies, stamped with a photo of Day D and the words "Thank you guys." A girl connects purple-orange bracelet for friendship on her right wrist
Head Ribere Csecille plants "les bisous" on his flushed cheeks. He exclaims: "I have two kisses in France!" "It was a great honor," Cecilie says. "And I hope kids will remember this for the rest of their lives." When Lambert arrives at the Goliam Red Museum over Omaha Beach, a tough man with a black polo shirt and a punk hairstyle rushes to meet him – Pierre-Louis Goselin, the founder of the museum.
The weather the previous day was cold and windy. Lambert had spent almost three hours on the beach, while the newsroom team was waiting for their windows to shoot. Tonight, back at Kokul's home, Lambert was swallowed up by vomiting.
But Lambert felt obliged to honor the young man who had done so much to honor the memory of his favorite first division.
A small museum in Colleville-sur-Mer is the result of Goselin's 30-year obsession. The collection contains things similar to the soldier's letter home to the twisted iron "hedgehogs" with which the Germans were clothed in the coastline in vain attempts to thwart allied landing. when most of my World War II men go on and on, "says Lambert to the crowd gathered at the museum. "And in the future it will be very important to have a representation here in France."
Lambert solemnly bequeats a medal around Gozelin's neck and the crowd applauds. The assistant embraces his idol, then kisses his cheek.
"He is now an honorary member of the 1st Division," Lambert told the crowd. "So you have to stand up to the qualifications of Division 1. Obligate first and all of these things, and behave accordingly like a good soldier."
Asked what this honor is, and Lambert, Goselin is looking for the right words for him
"My Life," he says. "I dedicated my life to Big Red 1".
Lambert looks around the museum. Just inside the door there is a large piece of rusty metal. This is the ramp of Higgins' ship, just like the man who almost killed him 75 years ago.
During the battle, Lambert noticed a man fighting deep in the water. He was entangled in the barbed wire that the Germans had sunk all over the beach.
Lambert snatched it and made some dives before releasing the man. They went to the shore, and a landing ship appeared behind them; he dropped his ramp, pushed Lambert and the other man to the bottom.
Locked under the metal, Lambert prayed to God to give me a chance to save another man.
Suddenly the ramp lifted, and the two men jumped to the surface. Lambert sent the man to the beach, gave some orders to his men, then was distracted by the pain and the loss of blood.
He woke up later on a ship back to England. Later, he would have realized that the ramp had broken two of his vertebrae.
While Kokul kicks the band, the car passes a big, intrusive photograph of the D-day attack.
Below are the words Les vrais heroes ne meurent jamais! "-" The True Heroes Never Die "
June 6 – Day of the Day:
Lambert sits on the first row of the podium to Pvt Russell Pickett, the last known surviving member of Company A, the infantry regiment of the Virginia National Guard – the so-called "Bedford Boys." Despite the sunlight being cold, Lambert spread a purple blanket over his tours and Piquet.
He is unprepared when halfway through his speech, President Donald Trump said "Employee Sergeant Ray Lambert."] "Ray was just 23, but he had already won three purple hearts and two silver stars to fight in North Africa and Sicily, "said Trump to the silent crowd, before the Alabama doctor landed in the first wave in Omaha Beach
" They came to the sector right here "Trump continued," Easy Red "was called, and again and again Ray ran back into the water, pulling one man after another, he was shot through his hand, his leg torn from shrapnel.
Then he turns his head to the rising behind him.
"Ray," he says. "The Free World congratulates you."
When waves of applause poured over him, Lambert smelled his purple hat and excited her in the crowd.
After the ceremony, as a friend, he drew him along the straight rows of brilliant white crosses and David's stars in the American military cemetery looking at Omaha Lambert, he wondered if the president of the United States, his commander, should exclude him for such praise.
"I am nothing," he says. "I'm just a soldier."
June 7 – D-Day Plus One:
Once again, Lambert is on Omaha Beach. Once again, he is up to "my rock".
This morning, 75 years ago, when bullets swirled and the mortars were sending a rain and water shower, Lambert scanned the beach for something to safely treat the wounded. Suddenly he noticed it – a loaf of remaining German concrete, about 8 feet wide and 4 feet tall.
"This was my salvation," he says. . "Last year, a plaque was attached to the names of the combat medics of the 16th Regiment
Mayor Patrick Tominez asked Lambert to come to a wreath ceremony, a cold, wet day, and Lambert's hands become blue  He is about to leave when a large group of soldiers in fatigue is approached, who are members of the 12th Royal Artillery Regiment, an anti-air defense weapon, located near Portsmouth, England
It seems to be hit by electricity, Lambert is renewing his stories and questions from the field
"This was the only thing we could find on the beach to try to make the victims treat them," he says. "You can imagine that you are coming to that distance they find the waves, the boys who collapse, drown and are dead all over this beach, and they turn to soldiers
"We all love you," he says, "And you are all our brothers." All the soldiers are brothers . And thank you very much for being here today in our American sector.
After a few more pictures, Simpkins says it's time to go. Surrounded by a doctor and a gendarme, Lambert goes to the bluff – farther than he did in 1944
June 9 – Day three plus three:
After a week of parties and dinners and toasts with Calvados , he returns to Charles de Gaulle Airport
Another circle of sailors with the flight crew. Another kiss on the cheek of a beautiful lady. Another upgrading to first class. Another oath of his colleagues.
On the ground in Rally, Lambert waits for his bags when a woman approaches and touches his shoulder. "
" When I heard you were on the plane, I was hoping there would be a chance to meet you, "said Caroline Wright, an employee of an IT company from nearby Holly Springs. "Thank you for your service, sir." Wright tells Lambert that her grandfather, Clyde Hunt, also served in France during the war. "
" He died before I was born, "she said, tears rolling her cheeks." And to meet someone of this generation … "" I know you're proud of what he did – kindly "Lambert says," And I appreciate that you're coming in. I'll be also emotional, we can have a little crying party right here. "
Lambert already plans to return to Normandy next year, but he knows how unlikely it is Lambert weighs 173 pounds a year ago, and today he has reached 145, and doctors can not understand why. "
But at the end and all, he knows that old soldiers do.
You can follow on Twitter breed of https://twitter.com/ AllenGBreed