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World War II veteran remembered for D-Day memories, warm personality

Posted August 2
Updated August 3

— World War II veteran Al Alaverz died Monday at the age of 93. His friends and family said they are celebrating how he lived.

Alvarez was on the Board of Directors of Fayetteville's Airborne and Special Operations Museum when it opened its doors in 2000.

People who knew him said he will be remembered as a forever smiling face greeting visitors with a warm handshake

"He was one of the guys that when you come in and say ‘Hey, I'm here to talk about the ASOM’ we'd go ‘Al, this is about ASOM’, and he'd be on it," said Paul Gaolloway, Board of Director.

Al Alvarez

But it was his stories about storming the beach at Normandy on D-Day and fighting the Germans that captivated visitors.

His wife of 68 years shared the contents of an envelope that contains his accounts of the D-Day Invasion.

"I'm 5 feet 7 inches and had only my nose out of water, so i immediately exploded my radio life preserver and started to trudge in," the letter said.

Florence Alvarez said she remembers all the war stories. But it's his smiling face that captured her heart in 1949.

"He remembers a commander shouting out: 'Get off this beach, since only the dead and those who are going to die are remaining'!"

"And he always had the beautiful smile that he had, and that was what that was," Alvarez said.

Alvarez also served in Korea, the Dominican Republic and Vietnam. The flag outside his family home is at half staff.

His daughter, Colleen Wellons, said while he will be remembered as a warrior among the community, they will remember him as a family man.

"He enjoyed his family immensely," she said.

His funeral takes place Saturday morning at Jernigan Warren Funeral home on Ramsey Street.

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