They have been accompanied by a famous woman who is now 98 years old

The moving return of World War II veterans to Normandy 80 years later

Las celebraciones del 80º aniversario del Desembarco de Normandía tienen unos invitados de honor: los veteranos.

World War II military vehicles and aircraft in Normandy for the 80th anniversary of D-Day
More than a beach: the division of the Spanish soldier who fell on D-Day returns to Normandy

These men fought in World War II, 80 years ago. Most of them are already over 100 years old, so almost all of them have traveled to Normandy in wheelchairs aboard a Delta Air Lines plane, coming from the United States and which arrived on June 3 at Deauville Airport, in the northeast of Normandy.

On this trip, the veterans have been accompanied by members of the Best Defense Foundation. In Normandy they have been received by US soldiers who have traveled to France to participate in these events.

In the following photo we see Richard Stewart, veteran of the 459th Signal Construction Battalion of the US Army Air Forces, greeting soldiers of the 4th Infantry Division.

Among the veterans there are not only men. Here we see a very famous woman who is 98 years old today: Anna Mae Krier, known as "Rosie the Riveter", protagonist of the famous 1942 poster that encouraged many women to go to work in factories to build weapons. Anna worked building B-17 and B-29 bombers. Here we see her with a French Army female soldier.

Below these lines, Calvin Shiner (left, 101 years old), participated in the Operation Dragon landing in the south of France in World War II, as part of an engineering unit. Arlester Brown (right, 100 years old) was a quartermaster engineer in Normandy, elsewhere in France, Belgium and the Netherlands. He was hit by shrapnel in January 1945.

Below, Dennis Boldt, a veteran who landed on Utah Beach in Normandy. On this trip he was able to visit the American Cemetery at Omaha Beach for the first time.

John Wardell (98 years old) was part of the 2nd Ranger Battalion of the US Army. He landed on Omaha Beach on June 18, 1944. He fought in Normandy, Brittany, Belgium and Germany.

US General Darryl Williams, Commanding General of the US Army in Europe and Africa, greets World War II veteran Paul Priest (98 years old), belonged to the 9th Armored Division and landed in France in December 1944 to replace the crew of a Sherman tank. On March 7, 1945 he was in the Pershing tank that led the American column toward the Remagen Bridge. His unit reached Czechoslovakia.

Veterans giving the military salute when listening to the US National Anthem in Pointe du Hoc, Normandy. Some, despite their advanced age, wanted to stand up and listen solemnly to the anthem as when they were soldiers. Admirable people.

The following photos have been published by the US Embassy in France. In them we see the veterans at the Omaha Beach American Cemetery.

This visit has been the most emotional. In it, the veterans have reunited with friends who lost their lives in Europe. Some heroes to whom millions of Europeans owe the fact of not living under the yoke of Nazism.

I dedicate this article to these veterans and to all the soldiers who fought with honor in Normandy, especially to those who lost their lives in those battles.


Photos: U.S. Army / French Embassy in the U.S. / Honor Rosie.

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