US veterans leave for France ahead of 80th D-Day commemorations

US World War II veterans have begun their journey to France to be celebrated at D-Day anniversary events in Normandy to mark the 80th anniversary of the largest amphibious invasion in history.

On Sunday, the group of 60 veterans – donning customised jackets commemorating the anniversary – arrived at Atlanta airport to the clapping and cheering from the flight crew and a high school marching band.

The veterans were then guided through the airport to their terminal in a parade headed by the marching band.

Hilbert Margol says he didn't look on himself as a hero when his US Army artillery unit fought its way across Europe during World War II.

But he will be celebrated in France as one of 60 American veterans of the conflict traveling to Normandy to mark the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings on 6 June.

“I know my brother and I never looked at it as we were any kind of heroes, nothing like that,” Margol said recently of himself and his twin brother Howard, who served with him.

“It was just our time. That we were asked to serve. And we did.”

The last veterans

The 100-year-old Margol – who lives in suburban Atlanta – is among the dwindling band of veterans of the conflict who left the US on Sunday on a chartered flight for Deauville in Normandy.

The veterans will take part in parades, school visits and ceremonies – including the official 6 June commemoration of the landings by soldiers from across the United States, Britain, Canada and other Allied nations on five beaches.

Reflecting back on the three years he was in Europe, Larson said he is “no hero.”

Read more on RFI English

Read also:
Last remaining French D-day veteran Léon Gautier dies at 100
D-Day’s historic beaches threatened by rising sea levels
Macron hails Resistance martyrs ahead of 80th anniversary of D-Day landings