Local veteran remembers D-Day 70 years later

Friday marks the 70th anniversary of D-Day
Friday marks the 70th anniversary of D-Day, the day that the Allies liberated occupied Europe from the Nazis.

One of those fresh faced American kids who stormed ashore that day in 1944 is making sure his memories aren't forgotten.

Al Alvarez tells his war stories, every chance he gets.

"I think I was not as nervous as a lot of the other guys in the unit because I was too young and stupid to understand what was about to happen," said Alvarez, who remembers D-Day almost like it was yesterday.

"We were a group of seven," he said. "Two of us were radio operators, and the other guy got hit in the head. There was blood all over his face. When everyone started getting hit, I knew it was real."

Alvarez was just 20 years old when he trudged ashore with the 16th Infantry Regiment at Omaha Beach. Nazi bullets and bombs were raining down on his unit. Their orders, he says, were simple -- don't stop.

"The guy said to me...if you don't get to the top of that hill, I'll beat the 'bejeevies' out of you," said Alvarez. "That's the orders I got."

He survived the hell of that day, and his unit eventually fought their way to eastern Germany. Now, he has a room full of Army medals.

"My unit got 30 Silver Stars," said Alvarez. "We got 56 Bronze Stars, all in one morning."

Alvarez is a retired lieutenant colonel now, and he has put his memories down on paper. He also volunteers his time at the Airborne and Special Operations Museum where he takes visitors on walking tours of what for him is living history.

The exhibits recount the history of the Army's Elite Forces from World War II through today.

D-Day was a turning point in the war, and turned young men like Alvarez into reluctant heroes.

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