- Tom Rice, a 97-year-old US Army veteran, returned to the fields of France Wednesday by way of a parachute as he once did on D-Day 75 years ago.
- "It went perfect, perfect jump," the former paratrooper said immediately afterwards.
- Rice was one of 200 parachutists who re-enacted the jumps on D-Day to prepare the battlefield for the D-Day invasion, the largest beach assault ever undertaken.
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CARENTAN, France (AP) — No murderous hails of gunfire this time. No D-Day objective that had to be taken, whatever the cost. This time, 75 years almost to the hour after he parachuted into Nazi-occupied France, Tom Rice again found himself floating down through Normandy’s skies, now a grizzled 97-year-old thrilled as a little kid.
"Woo-hoo!" the ex-paratrooper yelped after hitting the ground, carrying the memories of comrades lost in battle and on a new mission — of remembrance this time — for the ever-shrinking numbers who sacrificed so much in World War II.
"I represent a whole generation," Rice said.
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.
"It went perfect, perfect jump," Rice said after catching his breath. "I feel great. I’d go up and do it all again."
Clouds of jumpers filled the skies over Normandy on Wednesday.
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.
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Source: Business Insider –