On the 75th anniversary of D-Day, the national spotlight shone on a Moore County veteran who participated in the Allied invasion.
A former army medic in the 16th Infantry Regiment, Arnold Raymond “Ray” Lambert rushed to treat his fellow soldiers amid the hail of gunfire at Omaha Beach. He was shot, pierced by shrapnel and struck by the ramp of a landing craft, which broke his back.
Despite his injuries, Lambert continued to pull drowning soldiers from the water until he lost consciousness. He and his brother, another army medic who was injured in the onslaught, both recovered from their wounds after being taken to the same field hospital in England.
Lambert, who lives in Seven Lakes, joined a small cadre of fellow D-Day survivors Thursday for a ceremony at the American cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, France. During the observance, he was singled out for praise by President Donald Trump.
"At 98 years old, Ray is here with us today, with his fourth Purple Heart and his third Silver Star from Omaha," Trump said. "Ray, the free world salutes you."
Lambert was also recognized Thursday in congressional remarks by U.S. Rep. Richard Hudson, who represents Moore County.
“I applaud Ray for his tremendous service, and I thank him for his courageous and selfless actions,” Hudson said. “I am so proud to represent him in Congress, and I wish he and his wife Barbara and their family all the best.”
Later on Thursday, NBC aired an interview with Lambert conducted by Tom Brokaw. Part of the segment was filmed on-location at Omaha Beach, where Lambert is seen wearing the same “D-Day Survivor” baseball cap he wore during the ceremony at Colleville-sur-Mer.
An interview with Lambert aired Wednesday on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” During the segment, he said he hopes to be remembered as a “good soldier and a good person.”
In an interview with “CBS This Morning” on Tuesday, Lambert said the Normandy invasion still lingers in his memory.
"There is hardly a day goes by that I haven't thought of some soldier or some incident that happened," he said.
His account of D-Day was read by Oscar-nominated actor Sam Elliott last month as part of the 30th annual National Memorial Day Concert in Washington, D.C. The concert was broadcast live on PBS.
On May 28, HarperCollins published Lambert’s memoir “Every Man a Hero: A Memoir of D-Day, the First Wave at Omaha Beach, and a World at War.” Lambert wrote the book with Jim DeFelice, the New York Times bestselling author who co-authored “American Sniper.”