93-Year-Old Vet Makes One More Jump Over Normandy


By Jim Bitterman, CNN

CNN -- Paratroopers are known for their checklists, and at the top of former paratrooper Jim "Pee Wee" Martin's list coming back to France for this D-Day anniversary was taking the opportunity to make one more parachute jump over Normandy.

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. But you just do what you had to do regardless of it, that's the difference," said Martin.

And Private Martin did what he had to do with the 101st right up until the end of the war.

But if he wanted to come back one more time to the spot where he was part of history, it was not to see the relics of his part of wallow in glory.

"People think you come back and you are all emotional about it, and 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."

No, it wasn't for the glory. If Jim Martin was back in Normandy it was because of that harrowing historical time that permanently bonded together all those who shared in it, a chance to honor those who will not be coming back.

"A moment all members of the 101st from back then would love to share."

Because if Martin was going to be the last of his generation to parachute into Normandy, well, this was one for the team.

"What made me do it today? A little ego because I am 93 and I can still do it, and also I just wanted to show all the people that you don't sit and die just because you get old."

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