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Final Word: D-Day stories need to be remembered, shared

On the 70th anniversary of D-Day, we have few living veterans from World War II anymore.

The last official count I can find from 2012 was about 1.5 million. Its so sad to lose this generation of heroes.

More than 16 million Americans fought in that war, and most of them, including my dad, are gone, and with them, some of the best stories of American bravery we will ever hear.

It’s why we need to listen when 93-year-old Jim Martin talks about his war experience.

Martin, a member of the 101st Airborne, dropped behind enemy lines 70 years ago on D-Day, just before the land invasion of northern France.

“Everybody was scared all the time, and if they tell you anything differently, they are full of crap,” he told CNN.

Exactly.

Martin fought in the Battle of the Bulge and helped free the Netherlands from the Nazis.
He celebrated the 70th anniversary of his jump into France by doing it again.

Yep, at 93, he again strapped on a chute and jumped.
He said this jump, even at his age, didn’t compare to that D-Day jump because no one was shooting at him.
He also says he will do it again next year.

I can’t wait.

I wish my dad was still here to tell me again how he and his unit were there to liberate Dachau prison camp in Germany.

How they helped unload a handful of surviving Jewish prisoners from a train loaded with thousands of prisoners, most of whom had already died.

How he stayed behind in Austria after the war, helping to reunite POWs with their families.

All I have is the pictures. Pretty soon that’s all we will have left of this brave generation.

Thanks for your service, WWII vets. You truly changed the world in June of 1944.