93-year-old veteran takes one more jump over Normandy
93-year-old U.S. WWII veteran Jim Martin of the 101st Airborne, left, completes a tandem parachute jump onto Utah Beach, western France, Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP / Thibault Camus)
Published Friday, June 6, 2014 11:31AM EDT
An American Second World War veteran seized the rare chance to parachute into Normandy Friday, 70 years after he was part of the historic D-Day invasion.
Jim Martin was one of the U.S. 101st Airborne Division soldiers who parachuted onto Utah Beach in their bid to retake France and, eventually, the rest of Europe from Nazi Germany.
On Friday, the 93-year-old veteran boarded a plane that was not much different than the one he jumped out of 7 decades ago, only this time it was with men and women about a third of his age.
Martin said it was "a little bit of ego" that prompted him to undertake the tandem jump.
"I'm 93, and I can still do it," he told CNN. "Also, I wanted to show all the people that you don't have to sit and die just because you get old."
Speaking of his return to Normandy, where Allied forces undertook a large seaborne operation that began the invasion of German-occupied Western Europe and contributed to an Allied victory in the war, Martin said he wasn't feeling overly emotional.
"I am kind of humbled and embarrassed by the adulation because I don't feel we did anything that we weren't supposed to do, or anything exceptional," he said.