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D-Day, 61 Years Later
Visiting With WWII Veteran Ned Delamar
June 2005

onday, June 6, 2005, marks the 61st anniversary of the assault on Omaha Beach at Normandy to liberate France from German occupation. Many paid the ultimate sacrifice. One survivor recalls that upon exiting the landing craft, he stepped into surf that was crimson red.

On June 6, 1944 Oriental’s Ned Delamar was still recovering from mortar fire wounds. Weeks before the landing at Omaha Beach on Normandy, Delamar had participated in the landing on the beaches at Anzio. A short distance in from the beach, Delamar was firing an M-1 rifle at the enemy when a soldier beside him called his attention to blood streaming down the side of his face.

Young Ned Delamar
Before the war – this is 17 year old Ned Delamar in 1937, attending Civilian Military Training Camp at Pope Airfield, Fort Bragg, NC.

“By then I tasted blood in the corner of my mouth,” Delamar
recalls. Shrapnel still remains in his forehead near the socket for his left eye. A conversation with Delamar reveals that often the physical wounds are the easiest to heal. The fact that a combat infantry badge is part of his WWII memorabilia attests to his contributions for the cause of world peace.

Originally a combat paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division, Delamar made his combat jump over Sicily. He was later transferred to the Red Bull Division which saw more combat days than any other division in the US Army.

A veteran of six major campaigns in Europe, Delamar had already earned many decorations prior to the invasion on D-Day. Tucked away in small leather cases in the simple frame house that has been home to his family for decades are two bronze stars, two purple hearts and the Distinguished Service Cross.

Delamar recalls listening to the BBC broadcast about the D-Day invasion on a sergeant’s radio. He says, “I knew we were seeing the beginning of the end, even though we would have to fight heat, rain, snow, ice and mud along with fighting the Germans until the war would be over.”

Almost five months after D-Day, Ned Delamar, single-handedly, engineered the routing of Germans from a house where they had been pinning down members of his platoon. He then raced from rooftop to rooftop to take out a machine gun. The citation which accompanied his Distinguished Service Cross awarded as a consequence of that action notes that he killed several enemy soldiers in this action. That’s the kind of thing Ned Delamar does not talk about. That’s the kind of thing one has to read in his record.

Ned Delamar
Ned Delamar

Ned Delamar’s contributions to his village, his state and to his country did not end with the end of World War II.

He has been musician, soldier, entrepreneur, legislator and educator.

After the war, in the NC House of Representatives, he co-sponsored and introduced the Community College Act of North Carolina, creating the statewide system of community colleges.

After such a long career of service, he is now approaching his 85th birthday on the 61st anniversary of D-Day.

Ned Delamar Reflects
Reflecting on the experiences of World War II

Sitting on his front porch in Oriental, NC, reflecting on the significance of D-Day and his service record before and after D-Day, Ned Delamar admonishes me not to polish his story up too much. He said, “I’m just an ordinary guy. What I did was ordinary for that time.”

Such an observation makes his accomplishments, and those of his generation – all the more extraordinary.

As well as directing PR for Pamlico Community College, Ben Casey is a photographer and photo essayist. You can learn more about Ben and his books at www.bencaseyphotos.com.