Return to Normandy: 70 Years Later

Updated: 06/07/2014 12:33 AM
Created: 06/07/2014 12:24 AM WHEC.com
By: Scott Kilbury

Across the world, millions of people celebrated the 70th anniversary of D-Day. Hundreds of thousands of veterans came together in Normandy, France, including one veteran from western New York.

News10NBC was there when Whiskey 7 departed the Warplane Museum in Geneseo three weeks ago. On Friday, Whiskey 7, the last known airworthy plane of the 37th Squadron, flew over the very shores it saw seven decades ago.

The 70th anniversary was especially emotional.  It was a celebration of the D-Day beach invasion that would break Hitler and save the world. It was a wrenching reminder of what that cost. There are 10,000 tombstones in the American cemetery at Omaha Beach. The U.S. boys, who are now old men, broke through. On this anniversary, the focus was on them. Two hundred vets came. Maybe their last trip to France.

President Obama said, "These men waged war so that we might know peace! They sacrificed so that we might be free! They fought in hopes of a day when we'd no longer need to fight. We are grateful to them."

In the ranks of world leaders at Normandy was Vladimir Putin. Aides say Mr. Obama told Putin that it is time to de-escalate on Ukraine, now that Ukraine has a new leader. Putin briefly greeted Ukrainian President-Elect Petro Poroshenko.

It was positive diplomatic developments, as the world looked back at 1944, when the Americans, the Russians and their allies succeeded together to beat the Nazis. Also, like seven decades ago, Whiskey 7 was there to see it.

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