As the parachutists descended, there was a celebratory flyby. The three transport planes circling the drop zone, That’s All, Brother, Placid Lassie and D-Day Doll, had all dropped paratroopers into Normandy and were World War II veterans in their own right.
The crowd applauded as the jumpers finished their descent and landed in the grassy drop zone. Those who jumped included members of the WWII Airborne Demonstration Team, the Round Canopy Parachuting Team, and the Liberty Jump Team. Gathering up their chutes, each jumper walked off the drop zone to pay their respects to Martin and his fellow Screaming Eagles, as the 101st Airborne is known.
Now well into their late 90s, the veterans walked with canes or came in wheelchairs,traveling from all over the country to attend. While their mobility may not have been what it once was, a sense of deep pride was visible on each man’s face as they posed for photos, shook hands, and signed autographs for the adoring crowd.
While the sun will soon set on the last of the World War II generation, the community surrounding Martin and his Screaming Eagle brothers has set out to make sure their stories of courage and service will not be forgotten.