D-Day is normally a day to look back at the incredible sacrifices made in the effort to liberate Europe and battle back the Nazis on June 6, 1944. It’s always made a little more special due to the many veterans who still make the trip to France every year and honor those who didn’t make it back.
Those days are sadly coming to a close, but that’s not stopping many from making the most of the time they have left. 93-year-old Jim “Pee Wee” Martin took that to heart during his visit, pushing it to the next level by reliving his heroic parachute jump into Normandy. From CNN:
Martin was part of the U.S. 101st Airborne Division that parachuted down over Utah Beach in their bid to retake France and, eventually, the rest of Europe from Nazi Germany. They actually touched down in enemy-controlled territory a night before what’s referred to as D-Day.
His jump Thursday in the same area was different and — despite his being 93 years old now — a whole lot easier.
“It didn’t (compare),” Martin said, “because there wasn’t anybody shooting at me today.”
I can’t imagine jumping out of a plane now, let alone at 93. I also can’t imagine being shot at from all directions and dealing with the incredible stress of that day. You can’t have anything but respect for Martin and those like him.
It’s very easy to be cynical in respect to the military and wartime heroics. But moments like this add a bit of perspective and give you that human side that can get muddled up over time.