With Tears In His Eyes, Sam Elliott Recites WWII Survivor’s Account Of D-Day

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Actor Sam Elliott Shares Veteran’s Harrowing Account Of D-Day Invasion

During PBS’ National Memorial Day Concert in 2019, actor Sam Elliott took to the stage to share one WWII hero’s harrowing account of D-Day.

While the National Memorial Day concert is mainly known for its musical performances, one of the standout moments of the 2019 concert was not musical at all. That moment featured Elliott, known for roles in projects such as 1883, Tombstone, and A Star is Born.


Sam Elliott shares the account of D-Day survivor SGT Ray Lambert during the National Memorial Day concert in 2019
Paul Morigi / Getty Images for Capital Concerts Inc.

Elliott, who served in the National Guard, has appeared in multiple projects related to the military. Through the years, he’s 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.

With all this in mind, it makes perfect sense why Elliott was selected to share the story of an American military hero during the National Memorial Day Concert.

Staff Sergeant 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.

SGT Ray Lambert Was Injured In Battle, But Rushed To Save Others

Elliott shared what happened next when he told Lambert’s story during the National Memorial Day Concert. He recited Lambert’s account of the invasion and how he pushed through the terrifying situation to save his brothers in arms.

Lambert was injured, but 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 Lambert’s story.

From there, Elliott relayed how Lambert suffered another injury, but 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.

One man passed away in Lambert’s arms. There was simply nothing he could do for him.

In a chilling line, Elliott revealed that only seven of the 31 men on Lambert’s boat survived to make it to the beach.

While helping a soldier in the water, a boat ramp came down and struck Lambert on the back, crushing two vertebrae. Lambert prayed to survive, but not for selfish reasons. Instead, he prayed that he would live so he could help save just one more life.

SGT Ray Lambert Lived To Age 100 – He Was There To Watch Sam Elliott Share His Recollections Of D-Day

After SGT Lambert said his prayer, the boat backed away. He was able to save himself and the soldier in the water.

The next thing Lambert remembered was waking up on a boat bound for England. Miraculously, he found himself next to his brother, Bill.

Both Lambert brothers survived the D-Day invasion, and Bill lived to be 92. SGT Ray Lambert was 98 years old during the 2019 Memorial Day Concert. He was present to watch Elliott share his story.


After Elliott finished reciting Lambert’s harrowing tale, he went into the crowd to personally thank him for his heroic actions. His voice was full of emotion, and Elliott said it was an “honor” to meet Lambert. Watch Elliott share Lambert’s story in the video below.

According to ArmyTimes, SGT Ray Lambert died in April 2021 at the age of 100. May he rest in peace.