At the entrance to his home in Madison Heights, Bob Sales has built a small monument to his brothers-in-arms.
The homemade tribute includes statues of soldiers, and faces of people like Captain Dick Wright.
"He was my sergeant and a dear friend," Sales said of his former comrade.
Around the corner in his back yard, Sales has erected a plaque listing every solider from his company that died on D-Day.
He was part of the 29th infantry's company "B," a group he believes is sometimes overshadowed by the "A" company from Bedford.
"The men in 'B' company were killed on the landing," said Sales. "I don't think there were as many as the ones that died in the 'A' company, but when you're dead you're dead."
"B" company was a National Guard unit based in Lynchburg. They were among the first to storm Normandy on June 6, 1944. The "Bedford Boys" of company "A" were about 10 minutes in front of them.
Sales was just 18 years old.
"I kind of had in my mind that we would loose four or five men, wounded and killed," said Sales. "It was far worse than that."
Of the nearly 200 soldiers in his company, only 30 or so survived.
As machine gun fire rained down around him Sales threw off heavy equipment, jumped off his landing craft, and headed for shore.
"You're scared. Man you are scared," Sales said. "Don't ever think there isn't a lot of religion in war. There's a lot more than people think."
Once he was on shore, he continued fighting for six months.
He came face-to-face with a Nazi soldier, shooting and killing him. Today, he keeps a photo of that soldier in a scrapbook.
"I'll tell you how I feel about him. Two young men met in Normandy one morning and one died," Sales said of his enemy casualty. "It could have been me just as well. If I had made a sound, he would have turned around and blew me away."
Sales was eventually wounded in Germany and left partially blind. He was awarded three purple hearts, a silver star, and recently received the French Legion of Honor.
For him D-Day will always be the anniversary of an experience, which lasted far beyond June 6th.
"They say that D-Day was the longest day and I guess it was, but man that was just one of them," said Sales. "I had 180 days of it."