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We've all seen the iconic photos from Normandy, but 86-year-old Walter Savage has a different perspective. Exactly 70 years ago, as history was made, the Lowell native watched it happen in living color.
"I never seen the sky black with planes, never seen so many in my life," Savage said.
June 6, 1944 was like none other for Savage. This ordinary teenager from North Carolina would help change the course of history.
"Dropping bombs, fighting in the air. And I thought, how in the world do they know who they're shooting at, so many planes in the sky," Savage said.
Savage was one of the first to reach Normandy.
"We were there on the beach from high tide to high tide," Savage said.
For nearly 12 hours, he fired round after round at Nazi planes, from the deck of his Naval Transport.
"Scared to death, but everything was going so fast. Here I am, 16, shooting people. Trying to kill somebody," Savage said.
Savage tells WBTV he wanted to fight so badly that he lied about his age when he joined the Navy the year before.
"I went in when I was 15. I just said what have I done? I'm leaving home. I went from 15 years old, to manhood," Savage said.
A boy who was forced to grow up in the blink of an eye, in the midst of enemy fire, who doesn't think he'd be telling this story 70 years later, if it weren't for his fellow Americans.
"We've got to think about the people who were back home, on their knees, praying for us," Savage said.
Savage added that he would have given just about anything to be in Normandy to commemorate this anniversary.