AP Photo/Peter Dejong

WATCH: Airport in Paris Gives US Vets a Tear-Jerking Hero’s Welcome Ahead of 80th Anniversary of D-Day

2024 marks the 80th anniversary of D-Day, and some very special guests will be in France to remember the crucial event and honor the fallen–more than 60 U.S. WWII veterans. The heroes flew directly from Dallas to an airport in Paris on Friday:

American Airlines said they’re aged 96 to a remarkable 107 years old, and the start of veteran flights for the ceremonies this week: 

The group traveling from Dallas includes six Medal of Honor recipients from wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam who wish to honor the World War II veterans.
There are also two Rosie the Riveters, representing women who worked in factories and shipyards during the war.

Even before they depart Paris for Normandy, their itinerary is filled to the brim with special events and sites:

The group will take part in a wreath-laying ceremony at Suresnes American Cemetery, visit the Eiffel Tower and join in a daily ceremony known as le Ravivage de la Flamme, which honors fallen French service members at the Arc de triomphe.

Events scheduled to take place in Normandy itself will “include wreath-laying ceremonies on Omaha and Utah Beaches, two of the landing sites for the Allied forces.” Doubtless, some of the over 4,400 Allied military members (about 2,500 of them Americans) who lost their lives–and the over 5,000 wounded–in the crucial June 6, 1944, operation will be on the veterans’ minds and close to their hearts.

Okay, have that hanky nearby. When the veterans arrived at Paris’ Charles De Gaulle airport, they received a rightful (and tear-jerking) hero’s welcome from the French.  

One last takeaway: an organizer of this year’s D-Day anniversary events, Philippe Étienne, who chairs Liberation Mission, spoke for all of us, when he explained to the AP why continuing to put on efforts like this flight are so important: “We will never forget. And we have to tell them.”

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