Day veteran, 97, recreates Normandy parachute jump

American troops land at Omaha Beach on D-day

American troops land at Omaha Beach on D-day

A 97-year-old US veteran has parachuted into Normandy - 75 years after he made the same journey on D-Day.

Army Colonel Andrew Jackson, Deputy Commander of the Parachute Regiment's 16 Air Assault Brigade, parachuted in clutching the medals earned by a relative who fought in D-Day 75 years ago.

Parachutists will be jumping from C-47 transporters in World War II colors and other aircraft, aiming for fields of wild flowers on the outskirts of the town of Carentan.

Like many other veterans, Rice said he remains troubled by the war.

With the simple words "OK, let's go", General Dwight Eisenhower set in motion the greatest military attack in history. "You can close the issue now". The jumps were part of events marking the 75th anniversary of the D-Day invasion.

Second World War veteran Jim Radford, who is thought to be the youngest surviving combatant from the D-Day landings, has lept to the summit of the Amazon Singles Chart with his powerful ballad The Shores of Normandy. He called the 1944 jump "the worst jump I ever had".

Britain's Queen Elizabeth and Prime Minister Theresa May will be joined for the commemorative events in Portsmouth by veterans and by US President Donald Trump, who is on the final day of a state visit to Britain.

As he landed in Sannerville, he had with him the medals of his wife Kate's great-uncle Lieutenant Richard Prince - who jumped in on D-Day as part of the 7th (Light Infantry) Parachute Battalion.

The US veterans also describe the role they play coming to Europe for commemorations. It was the largest documented sea-born invasion in human history and is widely regarded as a turning point in the war. On June 4, the Royal Marines will perform an on water demonstration to veterans onboard The Royal British Legion's ship to salute them for their service.

"It's very important to me and other veterans that there should be a place like this where people can come and reflect because we're not going to be around for much longer to tell the story, and the story needs to be told because people need to learn lessons from it".

When asked what his D-Day comrades would have felt about him recreating their bravery, Rice said: "They would love it".

On Thursday the focus shifts to France, where commemorations will be held at simple military cemeteries near the Normandy beaches.

Elderly veterans looked on Wednesday as members of the 75th Ranger Regiment started mounting the limestone promontory at dawn, pulling themselves up on ropes one by one, seagulls swooping above them.

Of the 235 men who took on the cliffs in 1944, only 90 were fit for battle two days later.

The gathered drew silent when a recording of the stirring battle cry Prime Minister Winston Churchill delivered in the United Kingdom parliament as Nazi forces advanced across Europe in June 1940 piped in.

Also joining the ceremony are the prime ministers of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel; the Netherlands, Mark Rutte; Norway, Erna Solberg; and Poland, Mateusz Morawiecki, and Slovakia's deputy PM Richard Rasi.

However, German hopes of stopping the invasion on the beaches failed.

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