94-year-old Middle TN veteran recalls D-Day 70 years later - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

94-year-old Middle TN veteran recalls D-Day 70 years later

WAVERLY, TN (WSMV) -

A 94-year-old Humphreys County veteran spent Friday reflecting on the Silver Star he received for his heroic actions on D-Day.

Bob Simpson was supposed to visit Normandy, France, with 29 of his former comrades for the 70th anniversary of the historic invasion that helped the United States and its allies to victory in World War II, but illness forced him to stay home in Tennessee.

Simpson suffers from dementia, but he is still able to give a clear account of what happened on D-Day.

"It was terrible. It was terrible," he said. "I pulled my sergeant out of the water three times. He was shot by machine gun fire."

Simpson was one of 30 veterans of the D-Day invasion invited back to Normandy to be honored for his service and interviewed by NBC's Brian Williams.

But last month, just days before he was scheduled leave for France, Simpson's doctors said he was too sick to make the trip - an experience he desperately wanted.

"Curiosity, I guess," Simpson said.

"Dad was more wanting to go mainly to see how it had changed, and he was hoping to see some of his old buddies," said daughter Bonnie Simpson.

After the D-Day invasion, Bob Simpson received the Silver Star - the nation's third-highest military decoration for valor - for crawling through a mine field carrying heavy explosives all while being shot at by the enemy.

Simpson's heroic actions helped blast an opening in the field, essentially saving his comrades. He also rescued a wounded soldier.

"He begged for about 10 minutes for somebody to come and help him, and nobody would come help him," Bob Simpson said.

His family says Bob Simpson didn't talk much about the war until the last decade, and he still struggles with the memories.

"It was terrible - the thought of dead people, being wounded," he said.

One of the few D-Day survivors still with us, Bob Simpson seems comforted by sharing his story of courage and sacrifice.

Copyright 2014 WSMV (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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