Not only have World War II veterans attended commemorations of the 75th anniversary of D-Day, some have gone to great lengths to re-enact part of what they did that monumental day.
Paratrooper veteran Tom Rice, now a sprightly 97 years old, parachuted into Normandy’s skies, just as he did 75 years ago when the country was occupied by the Nazis.
The difference this time was that he was giddy as can be, exclaiming “whoo-hoo!” as he landed.
Rice, who jumped with the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division, prepared with a physical trainer for six months for the special anniversary.
On D-Day, Tom Rice parachuted into a hail of gunfire. For the 75th anniversary, the now 97-year-old jumped into Normandy again, and loved it. #DDay75 @johnleicester reports. https://t.co/TVikdgcKfh pic.twitter.com/JSrm24iawm— AP Europe (@AP_Europe) June 5, 2019
Engines throbbing, C-47 transport planes dropped string after string of parachutists, a couple of hundred in all - including Rice, who jumped strapped to a partner, not alone and laden with weapons as he did on June 6, 1944. [...]
The clouds of jumpers, with round ’chutes akin to those used by D-Day soldiers, were honoring the thousands of paratroopers who leapt into gunfire and death 75 years ago.
Their landing zone Wednesday was fields of wildflowers outside Carentan, one of the targets of the airborne forces that were dropped in darkness on perilous missions to take strategic objectives and disrupt German defenses so that the greatest amphibious invasion in history, on the D-Day beaches, would have a greater chance of success.
Rice, of San Diego, jumped into roughly the same area he landed in on D-Day. He said it was dark in 1944 when he hit the ground in hostile territory and he can’t be sure exactly where he was. (AP)
“It went perfect, perfect jump,” Rice said after landing. “I feel great. I’d go up and do it all again.”