Sam Elliott Chosen To Share Veteran’s Powerful Story
While PBS’ annual Memorial Day Concert is mainly known for its musical performances, one of the standout moments of the 2019 concert was not musical at all.
The moment featured seasoned actor Sam Elliott, known for roles in films such as Tombstone and A Star is Born.
Elliott, who served in the National Guard when he was younger, has also taken on a number of roles in films that focus on the military and military figures. Through the years, he has portrayed Sergeant Major Basil Plumley in We Were Soldiers, Army officer Sam Damon in Once An Eagle, and Union Cavalry General John Buford in Gettysburg.
Since it's General Buford birthday, let us all pause for a moment & look at some photos of the man who brought him to life in "Gettysburg".
— Civil War Fangirl💖🎩 (@Miss_Bellatrix) March 5, 2019
With all this in mind, it makes perfect sense why Elliott was selected to share the story of another American military hero during the National Memorial Day Concert.
SGT Ray Lambert served during WWII, and was the lead medic who hit Omaha Beach during the first wave on D-Day. His big brother, Bill, was also there that day, and before the invasion the two promised to take care of each other’s families should anything happen to them.
What happened next is what Elliott shared with the crowd of thousands gathered at the National Memorial Day concert in 2019. He recited SGT Lambert’s harrowing account of the invasion, and how he pushed through such a terrifying situation in an effort to save his fallen brothers.
He Pushed Through His Own Pain To Save Others
Despite being shot in the arm right away, SGT Lambert knew he didn’t have time to worry about himself.
“I was thinking of only one thing, getting to the men who needed me,” Elliott said as he told SGT Lambert’s story.
— National Memorial Day Concert (@MemorialDayPBS) May 27, 2019
From there, Elliott relayed how SGT Lambert suffered yet another injury, but still pushed through in an effort to save as many men as he could.
“You did the job you were trained to do. If you didn’t, you died,” a tearful Elliott recited.
He told the story of how one man passed away SGT Lambert’s arms because there was simply nothing he could do for him.
In a chilling line, Elliott revealed that only seven of the 31 men on SGT Lambert’s boat survived long enough to make it to the beach.
While helping a soldier in the water, a boat ramp came down and struck SGT Lambert on the back, crushing two vertebrae. SGT Lambert prayed to survive, but not for selfish reasons. Instead, he prayed that he would live so that he could help save just one more life.
After saying his prayer, the boat backed away and SGT Lambert was able to save himself and the soldier in the water. The next thing he remembered was waking up on a boat bound for England, and he found himself right next to his brother Bill.
SGT Lambert Is Still Alive Today
Both Lambert brothers survived the D-Day invasion, and Bill lived to be 92. As for SGT Lambert? He is still alive today, and was 98 years old at the time of the 2019 Memorial Day Concert. He was there to watch Elliott share his account.
Powerful, touching moment after Sam Elliot read SGT Ray Lambert’s account of D-Day. Elliot did a phenomenal job and showed such respect to this military hero. #MemorialDayConcert #DDay #MemDayPBS pic.twitter.com/JvaRAQYXRf
— Gina (Applegate) Lee (@shoes4gina) May 27, 2019
After Elliott finished reciting SGT Lambert’s harrowing tale, he made his way into the crowd to personally thank him for all he had done. His voice full of emotion, he said it was an “honor” to meet SGT Lambert and share his story.
Now it’s time for you to hear SGT Lambert’s story by tuning in to the video below. It will be smart to grab a tissue or two first, because you’re sure to be left in tears by the time Elliott is through.
A huge thank you to SGT Lambert for his service and devotion to our country, and for making sure no one forgets about his fallen brothers.