US World War II Veterans return to Normandy to mark 80th Anniversary of D-Day

Accra, June 4, GNA – Some 48 United States Veterans of the Second World War Tuesday touched down in Normandy, France as part of the upcoming 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings. 

The former soldiers, many of them in their late-90s and some more than 100, arrived on a Delta Air Lines special charterflight that flew directly from Atlanta to Deauville-NormandyAirport, a press release issued to the Ghana News Agency, in Accra by the Kingdom Concepts Consult, said.

The June 6 Anniversary commemorates the Day when 150,000 allied troops landed in France to drive out Nazi forcesin 1944. It is considered historically as the largest amphibious assault.

First Lady of France, Brigitte Macron, welcomed the WWII veterans at Deauville Airport. Madam Macron was accompanied by Patricia Miralles, Minister Veterans Affairs and Remembrance both honoring the important role the Veterans played in the Normandy landings, a moment etched in France’s history and ultimately paved the way for the liberation of Europe.   

The WWII Veterans deplaned onto the tarmac to passionate cheers from hundreds of Normandy residents, members of the U.S. and French armed forces and local school children.   

This is the first time some of the Veterans have returned to France since the Normandy landings.

Ed Bastian, Delta’s CEO, said: “Delta is privileged to have played our part in bringing these brave Veterans back to Northern France ahead of this special week of remembrance. We are truly honored to be joined by Madame Macron to greet our WWII heroes who have made this incredible journey and touched by the warm welcome showed today by the people of Normandy.”

“Joining Brigitte Macron on stage for the official ceremony, was WWII Veteran Neil McCallum who had expressly asked to meet France’s first lady in a video that reached the First Lady at the Elysee Palace when he returned to France for this year’s remembrance services,” the release said. 

She saw the video and committed to joining the welcome party at Deauville’s airport and meet McCallum.  Addressing the World War II Veteran, she said: “You’re incredible in the video but in real life you are the best.”

Ed Bastian alongside the representatives from Best Defense Foundation, the Region of Normandy, and Deauvillepresented Mrs Macron with a large replica model of a Delta 767 aircraft in addition gave a picture of a flight of doves as a symbol of peace to Deauville Airport, to thank them for thesupportive role the airport played in bringing the American Veterans back to France. 

Bastian said: “We’re thankful to our partners in Normandy and at Deauville airport, who allowed us to fly directly into Normandy from Atlanta to ensure the comfort of our WWII heroes.”   

“Delta is proud to partner with Best Defense Foundation Michelin and Wheels Up working together to bring the Veterans back to France. During their stay, the veterans will pay a visit to a school in Bayeux to share their stories directly with the children so that the legacy of the Greatest Generation will live on,” the release said. 

“For our WWII generation, it is our duty and honor to provide this opportunity of closure and camaraderie for those who gave so much,” said Donnie Edwards, President and Co-Founder of Best Defense Foundation. ​

The Veterans will join World Leaders latter this week for commemoration events across the Normandy Region. 

The events can be followed on the Delta News Hub for daily updates, the release said.