43 WWII veterans fly from Atlanta to Normandy ahead of D-Day

WWII veterans wait to board a Delta flight to Normandy ahead of 79th anniversary of D-Day
WWII veterans wait to board a Delta flight to Normandy ahead of 79th anniversary of D-Day(Chelsea Beimfohr)
Published: May. 31, 2023 at 10:29 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - 43 WWII veterans boarded a special Delta Air Lines flight Wednesday night at Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

The chartered flight is taking WWII veterans back to the shores of Normandy, France for the 79th anniversary of D-Day.

“Going to Normandy is just like a victory,” WWII veteran Jimmy Doi said.

Almost eight decades ago these same men and women, most of whom were teenagers at the time, invaded the beaches of northern France by air, land, and sea in what was part of the largest allied invasion in history.

“I am 100 years old. I don’t have an ache or a pain in my body and I landed on Omaha Beach on D-Day,” WWII veteran Jake Larson said.

D-Day marked the beginning of the end of WWII and the fall of Nazi Germany. It’s something Delta is helping these veterans commemorate 79 years later.

“It’s so emotional and it’s an honor of a lifetime to meet them and to get to know them and their families,” Sabrina Cornelius with Delta said.

Cornelius said she also helped some of the veterans get their passports ahead of the trip.

The Best Defense Foundation is hosting a week-long program for these veterans and honoring the thousands who died during the historic invasion.

“We thank all those guys that are buried there. By a miracle and by their dedication they paved the way for me,” Larson said.

Students with the Dutchtown High School band from Henry County are also making the trip overseas.

The band played in a parade through the airport honoring the veterans Wednesday night. They’ve also been selected to play in the annual D-Day parade in Normandy June 6.