MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In March 2019, Sid Crawley celebrated his 95th birthday. It’s a milestone he wasn’t sure he would ever see back when he was a teenager.
“I got my uniform on my 19th birthday,” Crawley said Thursday, on the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion in World War II.
Crawley was sent to Germany just after D-day. It was the Crenshaw, Mississippi native’s first time venturing out, and he spent 18 months in battle.
“We had to wade through a lot of water. Whew, it was cold,” he said.
The recollection is still there, all of these years later.
“One of my best buddies, he got hit. He was paralyzed from the waist down.”
Some of Crawley’s memories are painful to dig up, but he hasn’t forgotten the sounds or the sights of what he saw.
“You had to get on your stomach to get under the fire, and the bullets, people think they sing when they go by. But they actually snap, like when you snap your finger.”
He also remembers those who didn’t return.
“Lots of them got killed. They were young fellas.”
Crawley says some soldiers who were younger than he was didn’t survive.
“Guns piled up that day, and 118,000 Germans surrendered.”
Through the bloodshed Crawley also remembers the victories and how the US prevailed.
“I did pray to God. I prayed to him. I said, ‘If you get me out of this mess.’ The lord spared my life. That’s all I can account for is by his grace.”
After returning from the war Crawley got married, started a family and became a minister. He retired from preaching after 50 years.