97-Year-Old D-Day Veteran Parachutes Into Normandy On 75th Anniversary

Tom Rice said there was one big difference between this jump and the one he did in 1944: "They weren't shooting at me."

A 97-year-old veteran of D-Day chose to commemorate the 75th anniversary by doing the same thing he did on June 6, 1944: parachuting into Normandy.

Of course, there was one big difference this time.

“They weren’t shooting at me,” he told CBS News.

Tom Rice was one of 18,000 paratroopers who were dropped behind enemy lines to prevent German reinforcements from reaching the front when the Allied forces stormed the beaches.

“Chase ’em out, run ’em across fields, through cemeteries, jumping over tombstones, chase ’em all the way back to the German border as fast as we can,” Rice said.

Once he landed, Rice fought on the ground for 37 days and was injured in combat four times, receiving both a Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medal.

Rice also lost a lot of friends and fellow soldiers. He said that’s why he repeated the jump 75 years later.

“I jump for the good guys that were lost, never returned, that did survive but could never talk about it. Walked away from it,” Rice told NBC News.

Rice was joined in his jump by other D-Day Veterans, like 94-year-old Brit John Hutton.

The two had different reactions. Rice told The Associated Press he’d gladly go back up and do another jump, but Hutton ― who had a hard landing ― joked to The Washington Post that he “should have more sense at 94.”

D-Day veteran Tom Rice parachutes on the 75th anniversary of the event.
D-Day veteran Tom Rice parachutes on the 75th anniversary of the event.
Getty Editorial
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D-Day Anniversary