Local WWII vet remembers D-Day
June 6 marks the 69th anniversary of the D-Day invasion in Normandy, France. The battle was the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany in World War II.
Most people know D-Day from history books or war movies but 91-year-old Dalton resident Charles Sprowl lived the historic battle on Omaha Beach.
"There were 5,000 ships," Sprowl said. "I wish you coulda seen that. I wish you coulda seen that sight. It was a beautiful sight and what not."
Seven decades after invading Normandy, Charles Sprowl remembers unloading his ship in enemy territory.
"When you got to the beach, there's things you see and heard you don't forget," he said.
Sprowl was one of three African Americans serving in the First Unit Special Brigade. The army was segregated but he said that all changed in battle.
"When we got to the beach, there was no segregation," Sprowl said. "We all worked together. We swapped shovels or whatever. We helped each other you know and we wonder why this can't happen in civilized life, when we get back home."
Sprowl, a native of Dalton, was drafted into the army at age 19. He served as an army technician, dodging bullets and jumping in trenches while unloading equipment from ships.
Today, he's a decorated vet. In 2010, he received France's highest decorated honor: the Legion of Honor. The medal signifies an honor that came at the cost of serving in war.
"If hell is like D-Day and D-Night, I don't wanna go there," he said.
Sixty-nine years later, the valiant vet said he'd go to hell and back again. "If I had to go back, I'd go back again," he said. "I would go back. You love this country. I haven't been to another country. America is America. I love this country."
Sprowl and his wife Maggie of 43 years reside in Dalton and have three children.