FLYING Magazine

A group of 68 World War II veterans embarked on a whirlwind trip to France in recognition of the 80th anniversary of D-Day. Leaving Dallas/Fort Worth on Friday, American donated a specially-chartered Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner for the trip across the pond.

Of the veterans onboard, the oldest was 107 years old with the youngest being 96. They were also joined by six Medal of Honor recipients along with over 50 cadets and midshipmen from various service branches who accompanied the veterans.

Starting in Paris, the group will venture north over the next several days as they visit memorial sites in Normandy. The 80th anniversary of the D-Day operation is on Thursday, June 6.

American held a send-off ceremony for the veterans at its Fort Worth headquarters with actor Gary Sinise. [Courtesy: American Airlines]

“It’s not every day that we get an opportunity to host our nation’s heroes,” said American’s Chief Operating Officer David Seymour during a send-off event at the carrier’s Fort Worth headquarters.

An Army veteran himself, Seymour added, “We fly around this world today because of what you did 80 years ago.”

Veterans from across the U.S. participated in the trip. For many, it was their first time back in France since the war.

Here at @DFWAirport where @AmericanAir is flying several World War II veterans to France on a specially-chartered 787 Dreamliner.

The oldest onboard is 107-years-old.

— Ryan Ewing (@FlyingHighRyan) May 31, 2024

“Every one of us here is in your debt. You brought victory to the freedom-loving world and we thank God that you won that war. Where would the world be today if the outcome had been reversed?” said actor Gary Sinise, best known for his role as ‘Lieutenant Dan’ in the film Forrest Gump. His foundation sponsored this trip and many like it.

The airline is no stranger to giving back to the military community. Since 2017, it has partnered with the Gary Sinise Foundation to take Gold Star families to Disney World. Last year, this airlift consisted of 11 charted aircraft and around 1,800 family members.

Editor’s Note: This article first appeared on

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