Dozens of people crowded into the Bedford Welcome Center Tuesday, to hear from a distinguished panel of speakers.
"I feel this is living history in the making," said Katrina D'Inzillo, a Smith Mountain Lake resident who attended the event. "You can't help but sit there with tears in your eyes when you listen to the stories."
The National D-Day Memorial hosted a discussion Tuesday afternoon with four veterans of D-Day, the invasion that liberated France during World War II. The guests of honor shared first person accounts of what they experienced.
"It just brings back memories," said Charles "Buster" Shaeff, who ferried boatloads of troops to the beaches of Normandy as a young sailor.
"It was quite an exciting time, to say the least," Shaeff said.
It was also a time of close calls.
"We got entangled, going round and round," explained Bill Overstreet, who served as a pilot in the United States Air Force.
Overstreet engaged a German fighter in a daring chase that led both of their planes under the Eiffel Tower.
"From being under there, I was able to get some good, solid hits and he crashed a couple blocks away," Overstreet said.
Evelyn Kowalchuk spent a lot of time in planes, too. She was a pioneer in medicine, serving as one of the first flight nurses in the United States military.
"If those boys volunteered to take care of our democracy and freedom, the least we could do was to take care of them and we did," said Kowalchuk.
The stories shared Tuesday are hard to come by. Only a fraction of the people who experienced D-Day are still alive to talk about it today.
The D-Day Memorial tries to hold regular events with veterans, to share their stories it is still possible to do so. Click here to learn about upcoming events hosted by the memorial.