California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon honored World War II veteran and Lakewood resident Sam Sachs as the 2017 Veteran of the Year for Rendon’s 63rd Assembly District.
"Sam helped the world fend off tyranny, then came back home to impact the lives of hundreds of young people as a public school teacher," said Rendon. "Now in his second century, Sam's bravery, love of his country, and sense of humor continue to be on display for all to see."
Sachs, who recently celebrated his 102nd birthday, joined the U.S. Army at age 17 and served in the 325th Glider Infantry of the 82nd Airborne. He landed in Normandy on D-Day and was helped plan the invasion with the glider force (known as the Flying Coffins), overseeing logistics for men, ammunition, food and transportation. “It was June 6, the sun was shining and we landed in Normandy at nine o’clock. The glider was shot at many times, but I found only one bullet hole. I remember it like it was yesterday,” said Sachs. "I was willing to give my life up for my country.
“I am Jewish and I was not going to be taken prisoner." As the Allies moved into Germany, Sachs took part in liberating a concentration camp. “I saw the horrors of that concentration camp, which you cannot believe unless you actually saw it.”
In 1945, Sam returned to the United States and continued to serve with the reserves until his retirement after 32 years of service with the rank of Lt. Colonel.
Click here to see the Lakewood CityTV video of Sam Sach's 102nd birthday celebration.