Virginia Veterans to be honored during D-Day anniversary event - WSLS 10 NBC in Roanoke/Lynchburg Va

Virginia Veterans to be honored during D-Day anniversary event

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BLACKSBURG - All over southwest Virginia people are getting ready for events marking the 70th anniversary of D-Day.

Hundreds of people will attend Bernard Marie's 30th annual World War II in Roanoke including dozens of veterans. This event has grown from a veterans only event to a dinner for more than 400 people with a waiting list.

Two men will be given the French Legion of Honor.

At just 17-years old Don Englar enlisted in the Navy. His job on D-Day was to transport men to Omaha Beach.

"It was a mass invasion that had to be done. I don't remember being afraid that day at all. I was too busy," said Englar.

Busy making five trips to shore taking troops in and the wounded out.

"At that time the beach was just chaotic. There were bodies everywhere, in the water body parts, it was just unreal. The noise was so terrible, you couldn't hear, you had incoming fire from our ships and fire coming at us from the Germans and explosions and smoke," said Englar.

"We stayed sixteen hours in the basement with no water, no light, and a lot of booming everywhere," said Bernard Marie who was 5-years old at the time living just eight miles north of Omaha Beach.

Marie says Englar is just one of his many heroes.

"The world was completely upside down and they did something not for gain, political or economical or whatever, they were there to save the world, not only us in Europe but the world," said Marie.

At Marie's annual dinner honoring WWII veterans Englar will receive the highest honor in France the Legion of Honor.

"I never expected it. There are so many guys never got off that beach that deserve it and it's just a great honor to me," said Englar. "I still wake up at night laying in that boat. I can't forget it. I really don't want to forget it."

Lee Boone Junior from Hampton will also receive the Legion of Honor during the dinner.

Marie says if he continues this event next year it will be on a smaller scale.
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