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93-year-old vet parachutes into Normandy
On the eve of the 70th anniversary of D-Day, a 93-year-old veteran who parachuted into Normandy 70 years ago wanted to try it one more time.
Paratroopers are known for their checklists and at the top of former paratrooper Jim "Pee Wee" Martin's list coming back to France for the D-Day anniversary was taking the opportunity to make one more parachute jump over Normandy.
With young servicemen and women a third his age Martin suited up and prepared to board a C-47 not much different than the one he boarded in England almost exactly 70 years ago to the hour.
Like his old comrades from the 101st Airborne Martin first parachuted into Normandy on a dark night with enemy soldiers shooting at him.
"Everybody is scared all the time and if they tell you anything differently they are full of crap," Martin said. "But you just do what you had to do regardless of it that's the difference."
The veteran says wanting to come back one more time to the spot where he was part of history was not to see the relics of his past or wallow in glory.
"People think you come back and you are all emotional about it," Martin said. "I am not that way about it. I enjoy the people but I am kind of humbled and embarrassed at the adulation because I don't feel that we did anything that we weren't supposed to do or anything exceptional. We just did what we were trained to do. And I think people look at us as a little more than we really were."
For Martin, returning to the spot was a chance to honor those who didnt make it back, and a chance for those still alive to savor the fact that they did.
"What made me do it today? A little ego because I am 93 and I can still do it," Martin said. "And also I just wanted to show all the people that you don't sit and die just because you get old."
Watch the video here.