American Airlines to fly US veterans to France to mark D-Day 80th anniversary    

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American Airlines has announced that it will fly 70 World War Two veterans from the United States to Europe to commemorate the upcoming 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, France. The special flight will operate on May 31, 2024, and is being provided free of charge by the airline to “honor [the servicemen] for their service and sacrifice,” according to the airline. 

“We’re honored to play a part in helping this group of heroic veterans return to Normandy,” said David Seymour, American’s Chief Operating Officer, and a veteran of the US Army.  

“This special journey is not only an expression of our gratitude for these heroes and the sacrifices they made for our freedom, but we hope to help shine a light on their extraordinary stories and preserve their legacies for generations to come,” he added. 

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The journey will begin with a formal dinner at the American Airlines headquarters in Fort Worth on May 30, 2024, followed by a special send-off parade at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) before the group boards the specially chartered American Airlines flight to Paris. 

The veterans will spend two days in Paris before traveling to the Normandy region for commemorative events. The trip will include visits to key historical sites, concerts, and special ceremonies to honor the courage and sacrifice of all who served during World War II. The trip will culminate with a June 6, 2024, ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery, where more than 9,000 US service members have been laid to rest. 

According to an airline statement, “D-Day marks a pivotal moment in history, and this trip reaffirms American’s commitment to supporting veterans and preserving their stories 80 years later.” 

Among the many heroes who will return to Normandy with American Airlines will be US Navy veteran Felix Maurizio, who was on a landing craft that deployed troops onto Omaha Beach on D-Day. One of the soldiers he dropped off was his brother, Sal, who served in an Army medical unit. 

Also taking the trip is Frank Perry, who served in the Army Air Corps as a turret gunner in central Europe in March 1945, and recalls staying on high alert for enemy fighter aircraft. After being discharged from service, he pursued his dream of a career in aviation with nearly 40 years of service at Piedmont Airlines. Piedmont is one of the many heritage airlines that came together to form American Airlines. 

American Airlines has had a long history of supporting US servicemen and women who have sacrificed to serve in the United States armed services. The carrier has also forged partnerships with many related organizations and the upcoming Normandy trip is being operated in collaboration with partners including the TriWest Healthcare Alliance, Gary Sinise Foundation, Robert Irvine Foundation, and Old Glory Honor Flight. 

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