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A trip of a lifetime: World War II veterans mark 80th anniversary of D-Day

American Airlines had the honor of flying nearly 70 World War II veterans to the shores of Normandy for the 80th anniversary of D-Day. The trip served as a heartfelt tribute, expressing the deepest respect for those who fought for our freedom.

American is proud to provide the veterans with an opportunity to honor the fallen and to pay homage to their bravery.



World War II veterans visit Normandy and reflect on D-Day 80 years later

Thursday, June 6, 2024, 12:05 p.m.

The arrival in Normandy started with a heroes’ welcome by school children and World War II re-enactors in Houlgate followed by a visit to Le Memorial de Caen, a museum and war memorial commemorating World War II and the Battle of Normandy.

A visit to historic Omaha Beach provided time for the veterans to walk in the heroic path of those who stormed the beaches 80 years ago and lay a wreath to honor those who didn’t survive the beach landing. The afternoon was spent among the bunkers and bomb craters of Pointe du Hoc and honoring the U.S. Army Rangers who scaled the steep cliffs June 6, 1944.

On Utah Beach, the veterans paid tribute by each laying a single rose in honor of the fallen. A historic chateau served as the backdrop for a special lunch that was attended by senior military leaders from the Department of Defense and other dignitaries. That afternoon, the veterans were the primary focus in Sainte-Mère-Église as thousands gathered to cheer their arrival into the town made famous by the Airborne soldiers who parachuted into the area.

The events in Normandy concluded with a ceremony marking the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings at the Normandy American Cemetery, where more than 9,000 U.S. service members from World War II are laid to rest.

For these veterans, revisiting the hallowed grounds of D-Day is more than a trip down memory lane — it represents gratitude and remembrance. Watch U.S. Navy veteran Felix Maurizio, who was on a landing craft that deployed troops onto Omaha Beach on D-Day, return to the shores 80 years later.


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Arrival to Normandy and visits to Le Memorial de Caen, Pointe du Hoc and Omaha Beach

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Utah Beach and St. Mere Eglise

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D-Day Ceremony at Normandy American Cemetery

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World War II veterans honor the fallen in Paris

Upon arrival at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris, the World War II veterans were welcomed by cheers and handshakes as they made their way through the newly refurbished terminal.

A brief welcome ceremony in the terminal included remarks by U.S. Ambassador to France Denise Bauer and the President of France’s Mission Liberation 80 Task Force, Ambassador Philippe Etienne. The veterans were welcomed by the U.S. Embassy’s Marine Detachment and the ceremony included a choir performance by children from Marymount International School.

The following morning, the veterans participated in a wreath-laying ceremony at Suresnes American Cemetery that featured a solemn performance by the service academy choir and a lone bugler from the U.S. Naval Academy honoring the fallen with “Taps.”

Lunch was served while cruising down the Seine River and the evening was spent honoring the fallen during le Ravivage de la Flamme ceremony underneath the Arc de triomphe.

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Arrival at CDG

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Ceremonies in Paris

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American sends World War II veterans off in honor of the 80th anniversary of D-Day

Saturday, June 1, 2024, 9:30 a.m.

To commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings, American flew nearly 70 World War II veterans to Normandy, France. The historic trip started at American’s headquarters in Dallas-Fort Worth with a kickoff dinner that included a 1940s-era big band and the Victory Belles from the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. Veterans were also given a special heroes’ arrival by American Airlines team members before heading to Dallas Fort Worth International airport, where the celebration continued.

Additional trip participants include a few Rosie the Riveters, an iconic representation in the United States of the women who worked in factories and shipyards during World War II, and six Medal of Honor recipients, our nation’s highest award for valor. Over 50 cadets and midshipmen from our nation’s military service academies also joined the group, accompanying the veterans and providing music as a joint academy choir.

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DFW arrivals and kickoff dinner

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Heroes' arrival at American's headquarters

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D-Day trip send-off at DFW airport

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Meet the veterans

Friday, May 24, 2024, 2:00 p.m.

Read about the 70 World War II veterans traveling to Normandy, France, and their extraordinary stories of service and sacrifice.

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American Airlines honors veterans with special journey to Normandy for the 80th anniversary of D-Day

Wednesday, May 8, 2024, 8:00 a.m.


FORT WORTH, Texas — American Airlines proudly announces a historic endeavor to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings in Normandy, France. On May 31, American will fly 70 World War II veterans to France on a donated charter flight to honor them for their service and sacrifice.

"We’re honored to play a part in helping this group of heroic veterans return to Normandy," said David Seymour, American’s Chief Operating Officer and a veteran of the U.S. Army. “This special journey is not only an expression of our gratitude for these heroes and the sacrifices they made for our freedom, but we hope to help shine a light on their extraordinary stories and preserve their legacies for generations to come."

D-Day marks a pivotal moment in history, and this trip reaffirms American’s commitment to supporting veterans and preserving their stories 80 years later.

Among the many heroes who will return to Normandy with American is U.S. Navy veteran Felix Maurizio, who was on a landing craft that deployed troops onto Omaha Beach on D-Day. One of the soldiers he dropped off was his brother, Sal, who served in an Army medical unit.

Also taking the trip is Frank Perry, who served in the Army Air Corps as a turret gunner in central Europe in March 1945, and recalls staying on high alert for enemy fighter aircraft. After being discharged from service, he pursued his dream of a career in aviation with nearly 40 years of service at Piedmont Airlines. Piedmont is one of the many heritage airlines that came together to form today’s American Airlines.

The journey will begin with a kickoff dinner at the American Airlines headquarters in Fort Worth the night before, followed by a send-off parade at Dallas Fort Worth International Airport before the group boards a chartered flight to Paris.

The veterans will spend two days in Paris before traveling to the Normandy region for commemorative events. The trip will include visits to key historical sites, concerts and special ceremonies to honor the courage and sacrifice of all who served during World War II. The trip will culminate with a June 6 ceremony at the Normandy American Cemetery, where more than 9,000 U.S. service members have been laid to rest.

American has a long history of supporting those who have sacrificed to serve our nation and has formed partnerships with many organizations to support their mission. This historic trip includes partners like TriWest Healthcare Alliance, Gary Sinise Foundation, Robert Irvine Foundation and Old Glory Honor Flight.

Bookmark for updates surrounding the trip.

[Photos and interviews with veterans participating in the journey are available upon request. Please contact for further information.]

About American Airlines Group
To Care for People on Life's Journey®. Shares of American Airlines Group Inc. trade on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol AAL and the company's stock is included in the S&P 500. Learn more about what's happening at American by visiting and connect with American @AmericanAir and at

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