Edwards and Virgin Durr, a Delta employee and Normandy native, worked together to organize a flight for the veterans. Durr said she is eternally grateful for the sacrifices made by all those who lost their lives during D-Day and all the veterans who are still alive today fighting for the liberation of France.
“My Normandy grandparents were set free by these guys. Without them, I would not be in this country. Every year I honor them in Normandy,” Durr said. “I can’t wait for them to see what’s in store for them to show them that we don’t take freedom for granted. We have never forgotten their sacrifices. Some have never seen how we honored them, so I’m very happy to bring them back and give them the opportunity to experience what Normandy is going to do for them.”
Of the 30 veterans who went on the campaign, only a few fought in Normandy on D-Day, but they all served in World War II.
King, from Ohio, enlisted in the military in 1942 and enlisted in the US Army Air Corps. Since childhood, he knew that he wanted to fly, so without hesitation he enlisted in the army as soon as he turned 18 years old. He did not fight on D-Day, but arrived in Normandy six weeks after the invasion began.
He was later transferred to a group of P-47 Thunderbolts who supported the general. George Patton’s Third Army marching through France.
“We were his aircraft, and we protected his flanks. He could go east without worrying about the Germans counterattacking him from the flanks,” King said.
During his 75th sortie, King was shot down in German territory. He was wounded and burned before being taken prisoner. King said the German doctor protected him and the other prisoners until they were returned to the Allies. The 98-year-old is delighted to be able to honor the memory of those who died on D-Day.
Neil McCallum, who lives in Florida, never fought in Europe, unlike his brothers, including one who died in France. His brothers did not make it to Normandy until D-Day 2 and D-Day 3. McCallum volunteered to join the Marines after he turned 17 and was posted to the Pacific where he trained for seven months on Guadalcanal.
Shortly after turning 18, McCallum took part in his first combat operations during Operation Iceberg, the invasion of Okinawa. He was seriously wounded at the Battle of Sugarloaf Hill, where his best friend and over 3,000 Marines died. Three years later he was demobilized as a corporal.
The 95-year-old said he was glad to have the opportunity to honor his brothers and other soldiers who never returned home.
“It means a lot, but also to honor the memory of my brothers. My mother and father made a great donation to humanity for liberty and liberty,” McCallum said.
During the trip, McCallum planned to meet up with a friend he made during the COVID-19 pandemic. A French history student found McCallum through the organization of the 6th Marine Division. The student was interested in the Battle of Sugar Loaf Hill, so since McCallum was there and spoke French after living in France for many years, they contacted and exchanged…