Former Tuscaloosa mayor shares memories of D-Day

Former Tuscaloosa mayor shares memories of D-Day

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Al DuPont. Source: Josh Gauntt/WBRC Al DuPont. Source: Josh Gauntt/WBRC
TUSCALOOSA, AL (WBRC) -

A former, longtime Tuscaloosa mayor is remembering storming the beaches of Normandy, France 70 years ago.

He didn't know it at the time, but at just 19 years of age, Al Dupont made history.

"For miles on either side of me was ships and up in the air were planes," Dupont said.

Dupont, an Army medic, was on the first wave of allied forces to hit a heavily fortified Omaha Beach on D-Day. DuPont says he will never forget what he saw that day.

"As you get closer and closer to the shore, it finally dawns on you exactly what you're there for," DuPont said. "As we started in, the shells and artillery started picking us off. So many people dying. So much hollering for help."

DuPont says in the middle of all of that chaos, he said a quiet prayer.

"I turned around and asked the Lord, 'If you ever get me back to Louisiana, I'll never ask anything ever again,'" DuPont said. "And he got me back to Louisiana."

DuPont still has shrapnel wounds and scars from that day. He received two Purple Hearts for helping to preserve the way of life for America and her allies.

A handful of decades later, DuPont found himself back in Tuscaloosa where he would go on to serve as mayor for over 30 years.

This World War II veteran and a member of the "greatest generation" offers this advice for when life gets tough.

"Sometimes it might look like there's no end to it, no end of the road, end of the tunnel," DuPont said. "I'd say to keep at it."

DuPont is keeping at it. At 89, he's still very active in his community and is taking a few college courses at Shelton State Community College.

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