A group of American lawmakers honored the bravery of World War II veterans who took part in D-Day with a parachute jump into Normandy on Friday morning, using some of the same vintage planes that flew American paratroopers over France 80 years ago.

The lawmakers are all military veterans, and were led by Reps. Jason Crow, D-Colo., and Michael Waltz, R-Fla. The other participants included: Reps. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, Ronny Jackson, R-Texas, Rich McCormick, R-Ga., Mark Green, R-Tenn., Cory Mills, R-Fla., Darrell Issa, R-Calif. and Keith Self, R-Texas.

Crow, an Army Ranger who served in two units that played key roles in the invasion of Normandy on D-Day, said the jump was a “very personal experience.”

“To participate in the jump over the same fields 80 years to the week was an incredible experience and my way of highlighting that service and sacrifice,” Crow said.

PHOTO: Rep. Mike Waltz shares a selfie showing preparation for a commemorative parachute jump to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France June 7, 2024.

Rep. Mike Waltz shares a selfie showing preparation for a commemorative parachute jump to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France June 7, 2024.

Mike Waltz/X via Reuters

PHOTO: Paratroopers from the British, Belgian, Canadian and US military take part in a parachute drop in the fields of Sannerville as they reenact the D-Day landings of 80 years ago, June 5, 2024, in Sannerville, France.

Paratroopers from the British, Belgian, Canadian and US military take part in a parachute drop in the fields of Sannerville as they reenact the D-Day landings of 80 years ago, June 5, 2024, in Sannerville, France.

Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

In an interview with ABC News’ Jay O’Brien before the jump, Crow said the jump is about remembering that “America is at its best when we come together, unite under common cause and purpose.”

“We serve and we make individual sacrifices to do big and important things,” Crow said in an interview in Washington shortly before leaving for France. “And in an era where we’re wondering about our place in the world, about American leadership, this is a reminder that American leadership matters.”

Before departing Washington, Waltz said the jump honors World War II veterans and pays respect to their sacrifice.

PHOTO: Rep. Jason Crow, who is also a U.S. military veteran, shares a selfie showing preparation for a commemorative parachute jump to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France, June 7, 2024.

Rep. Jason Crow, who is also a U.S. military veteran, shares a selfie showing preparation for a commemorative parachute jump to mark the 80th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy, France, June 7, 2024.

Jason Crow/X via Reuters

“This will be the last major anniversary with the World War II veterans. The youngest that we know of is 96. The oldest is 107. We need to honor them and need to keep their story and their sacrifice alive,” Waltz said. “What better way to pass that story on to the next generation than by jumping out of a perfectly good World War II-era aircraft?”

Waltz, the first Green Beret to serve in Congress, said that “American people need to see” lawmakers from across the aisle come together, and that electing more veterans to Congress would benefit the country.

PHOTO: American paratroopers, heavily armed, sit inside a military plane as they soar over the English Channel en route to the Normandy French coast for the Allied D-Day invasion of the German stronghold during World War II, June 6, 1944.

American paratroopers, heavily armed, sit inside a military plane as they soar over the English Channel en route to the Normandy French coast for the Allied D-Day invasion of the German stronghold during World War II, June 6, 1944.

AP

PHOTO: In this photo provided by the U.S. Army Signal Corps, U.S. paratroopers fix their static lines before a jump before dawn over Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944, in France.

In this photo provided by the U.S. Army Signal Corps, U.S. paratroopers fix their static lines before a jump before dawn over Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944, in France.

U.S. Army Signal Corps/AP

“If we’re all in a tank or a ship or a plane together just a few years ago, as veterans, as Americans, we’re all willing to die together and we should be able to roll up our sleeves and get things done,” Waltz said.

Both Crow and Waltz performed a parachute jump over Normandy with French paratroopers five years ago, for the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

PHOTO: Hundreds of American paratroopers drop into Normandy, France on or near D-Day, June 6, 1944.

Hundreds of American paratroopers drop into Normandy, France on or near D-Day, June 6, 1944.

Hulton Deutsch/Corbis via Getty Images

“There’s no better way to get you out of the airplane than to be in an 80-year-old aircraft,” Crow joked. “It freaks me out a little bit. But these pilots are great. The maintenance is great. It’s a very, very safe exercise.”

Crow said that while the plane on Friday was small and noisy, it flew well.

“The pilots were fantastic … it underscored for me how more advanced our systems are,” Crow said.



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