Sam Elliott WWII Veteran
Screengrab via YouTube

Sam Elliott Gives Moving Memorial Day Tribute to WWII Hero Sgt. Ray Lambert

During last year's annual National Memorial Day concert, which aired on PBS on May 26, 2019, actor Sam Elliott helped honor D-Day survivor and American hero, WWII veteran Sgt. Ray Lambert.

Elliott, known for his roles in Tombstone, the Netflix series The Ranch and more, recounted Lambert's experience on D-Day. He shared Lambert's harrowing account of the day.

"It was total confusion," Elliott read. "Shells exploding, boats blowing up, people yelling because they couldn't hear anything, machine gun bullets hitting the water all around you, the roar of the boats coming in. It's like you're all alone in the world of a million people because you're concentrating on what you have to do."

"I just kept going. I was thinking of only one thing — getting to the men who needed me," Elliott continued. "You did the job you were trained to do. If you didn't, you died."

Elliott closed by reading Lambert's words about the men who lost their lives and how he still thinks about them every day.

"People who have never been in a war should understand what soldiers give up. The guys we left on Omaha Beach never had a chance to live the lives they dreamed of. A day hasn't gone by when I haven't prayed for the men we lost and their families. I still wake up at night sometimes thinking about the guys. Every man that walked in to those machine guns and that artillery fire on Omaha Beach that day — every man — was a hero. What kind of person would I be if I didn't tell their stories?"

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Following Elliott's moving recital of Lambert's words, the actor —clearly moved by the story and the gravity of sharing Lambert's words — shook Lambert's hand.

"It's such an honor to tell your story," Elliott told the American hero.

Watch Lambert's story as told by Elliott in full above.

Elliott narrates Honor Guard, a docuseries about the Army's 3rd Infantry Regiment.

This article was originally published in 2019.

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