NATIONAL NEWS

100-year-old Wisconsin man returns to Normandy for 80th anniversary of D-Day

Jun 1, 2024, 2:56 PM | Updated: 2:59 pm

A group of World War II veterans flew out of Wisconsin this week on their way Normandy, France for ...

A group of World War II veterans flew out of Wisconsin this week on their way Normandy, France for the 80th anniversary of D-Day. (WCCO via CNN Newsource)

(WCCO via CNN Newsource)

(CNN) A group of World War II veterans flew out of Wisconsin this week on their way Normandy, France for the 80th anniversary of D-Day.

Early Thursday morning, well before sunrise, World War II veterans gathered once again. This time at a Appleton, Wisconsin airport, the start of a journey back to Europe.

“Nice to see where I was 80 years ago,” said Lawrence Eckstein.

“We are so honored, never knew we would have to get him another passport,” said Eckstein’s daughter, Julie Henke.

Old Glory Honor Flight joined American Airlines to help make this happen. Old Glory was founded by volunteers in Appleton, Wisconsin in 2009. They offer free trips to veterans across the Midwest, so these men and women get a chance to reflect, remember, and in some cases, rediscover.

“The destroyer I was on knocked out a German bunker and I’d like to know exactly where that is located. I’m sure I could find it,” said another veteran headed to Normandy.

“When I got the notice I was selected to go, I cried like a baby,” said Eckstein.

Each of the veterans who flew out of Appleton and Green Bay, will be taking part in the 80th anniversary of D-Day, on June 6 in Normandy, France. That includes 100-year-old Les Schrenk of Bloomington. He left behind the bad memories of the war, and he’s looking forward to making new memories with his fellow veterans.

“I’m glad I lived to talk about it,” said Schrenk. “It doesn’t bother me to talk about it. I put all the bad things behind me a long, long time ago.”

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100-year-old Wisconsin man returns to Normandy for 80th anniversary of D-Day