By Doug Dunbar

The salute.

As we walked down toward Omaha beach, there weren’t many words. Just ahead, the cold, imposing body of water looks no different than it did 70 years ago our men tell me. Dallas Army D-Day veteran Printis Sibley walks slowly. Cane in his right hand. When we arrive on a piece of break wall, that by the looks of the stone, could certainly have been here seventy years ago, he stops. And turns around. Facing away from the very beach that saw his arrival during the invasion. I ask if he minds if I take a photo. Mr. Sibley then slowly, begins to raise his right hand. Where his fingers showed the unwanted gifts of aging, and arthritis, his right hand began to stretch out. As his hand moved above his elbow it was nearly straight. By the time it reached the brim of his hat, it was a crisp, firm salute. Just like his superiors would have demanded in 1944. Then, as his hand begins to drop, I begin to make sense of why he turned around when he got there. I asked, “Mr. Printis, are you OK? “. He opened his mouth to try to speak. A sound came out, but no words. His head slumped, his eyes welled up, shoulders heaved slightly with emotion that was pouring out. It was simply too much. And for some of our men, that’s just the way it is, 70 years later.

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Dallas resident Printis Sibley, Omaha beach. A salute, but no words. Too emotional (Credit: Doug Dunbar/CBS 11).

Dallas resident Printis Sibley, Omaha beach. A salute, but no words. Too emotional (Credit: Doug Dunbar/CBS 11).

On that very same beach, not ten minutes later, came a moment that truly defines our work here, and the stories you’ll see all next week at ten, on CBS11.

Hand in hand, Charlie Alford, who served in Patton’s 3rd Army, and was bestowed a Silver Star for his actions, was walking with his son David, down Omaha beach. Charlie shared stories of what it was like arriving here, on this very sand. Then fighting all the way through the Bulge. What this meant to both son, and father, will be something you see next week in our coverage, but safe to say, it’s one of the most moving moments, images, and reasons for this week. An opportunity to walk the shores of history with your father, to pass his story to your children. It’s all Charlie Alford hopes for. He is one of the very lucky one’s, who will receive that gift of a living legacy.

37th Engineer Batallion man George Spears arrived on Omaha as well. He came in 45 minutes after the assault began. Difficult today, to look out on the sand where over 2000 men died on this beach alone, many of them in the very first hours of D Day. Men that George Spears had to walk past, to continue the fight. Men who George Spears had to say a silent prayer for, but move on. “Why them, and not me.” It’s a question we’ve heard a few times. The answer has always been, “I don’t know.”

Normandy is swelling now with people. Veterans, current military, relatives of those who paid with their lives. Two days until we mark the 70th anniversary of D Day. Two more days to be comprehend their amazing feat. Two more days, until their Return to D Day, will be complete.

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VIDEO: A crowd gathered around out Texas D-Day vets, and then this happened!

Goodnight from Normandy

Follow along with Doug Dunbar on his Return To D-Day series on CBS 11 and online at CBSDFW.COM

Follow Doug on Twitter for the latest updates from Normandy

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