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For most people, a summer trip to France is a chance to relax in beautiful surroundings and to savor the country’s fine food. For Tom Rice of San Diego, it’s an opportunity to relive the time he nearly died jumping from a C-47 Douglas airplane, then was shot at, again and again.

Despite being 97, Rice climbed once more into the bone-rattling fuselage of a C-47 and, while flying over the Normandy fields where he first saw action in 1944, leaped into the unknown.

Those on the ground watched the anxiety-inducing descent as, strapped to another parachutist dangling beneath a stars and stripes canopy, the old man coasted through the sky, another gigantic American flag billowing out behind him.

Reaching the ground with only a slight stumble on impact, Rice proudly gave V for victory signs with his hands and, wearing a 101st Airborne baseball cap, said he felt “great” and was ready to “go back up and do it again.”

US WWII veteran Tom Rice completed a parachute jump over Normandy to mark 75 years since D-Day.

US WWII veteran Tom Rice completed a parachute jump over Normandy to mark 75 years since D-Day.

Rice, along with thousands of other, was in Normandy to mark the anniversary of the June 6 D-Day military operations that 75 years ago saw Allied forces turn the tide of World War II toward eventual defeat for Nazi Germany.
Most participants were content with touring some of the broad landing beaches with code names like Juno, Gold and Omaha that saw legions of young men wade ashore into a barrage of German machine gun and artillery fire to push back German advances.

Culled From CNN

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By Roving

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