Transcript for Heroes return to Normandy for 75th anniversary of D-Day
We are back now with more on the 75th anniversary of d-day. The military invasion that changed the course of World War II. David Muir traveled to France with a group of veterans as they returned to the battlegrounds, some for the very first time. Good morning again, David. Reporter: So powerful, Cecilia. You know, 75 years after they stormed the beaches right here behind us in normandy, those young American sons who became men here, many of them now in their 90s have come back. It is a journey they never thought they would make. Have a good flight, sir. Reporter: World War II veterans from every corner of the country who we have documented for weeks now. I'm on my way to normandy. Reporter: They were there on d-day, 75 years later they were going back. But even before they board, the pilot thanks them. We can never repay you for the debt you have paid for us. Thank you. Reporter: They were the young men who stormed the beaches, who watched brothers die who bravely changed the course of the war. Returning to that beach perfect strangers approaching them, showing their gratitude. Walking up to this man from las Vegas to say thank you. Thanks for everything you did. Reporter: 50 miles of coastline, the beaches code names, Omaha, Utah, juno, gold, sword. A stranger handing jack Claiborne of Tennessee flowers. What did they say to you? Thank you. Thank you. Reporter: And we would meet up with them again at the normandy American cemetery. What is it like to be back 75 years later? Well, it's a good feeling now. Reporter: A good feeling now, he says that their shared history is being remembered on this anniversary. But jack Claiborne of Tennessee says remembering that day is not easy. 75 years later do you still remember that day? Yes, sir, vividly, yes sir. Reporter: They all do which is why for some the decision to come back was not an easy one. Harold mcmurran of Alabama. In many ways it's difficult to come back. True. In fact, this is my first time back and I came within almost one hour of not coming back. Has this brought you some peace? Yes, it has. We're grateful you came back. Thank you. How important is it that everyone back home remember? I don't want anybody to forget this. It's too important. It's just too important to our country. Reporter: In 1944 staff sergeant Tom rice was with the 101st airborne division flying in a c-47 when he jumped out over normandy and 75 years later just watch as he makes that jump again in roughly the same spot where he was a paratrooper in 1944. After the war he became a high school teacher for 44 years in San Diego. He did not tell his students he'd earned a bronze star and a purple heart for his service. And all of these years later he trained for six months for this day. Are you okay? Reporter: A bumpy landing but he was just fine with it. Are you okay, sir? Okay. Beautiful jump, beautiful everything was perfect. Reporter: 75 years later honoring the brothers he lost. I do it as a commemoration for d-day for those who were killed, captured, injured, it's important to remember the event of d-day because we made history. Reporter: And for this group of veterans who we have followed who became men on this beach, who met each other to make this trip back together, a salute in normandy. And, Cecilia, it's hard to put into words the gratitude you feel when you sit across from these d-day survivors, we felt it profoundly each time we sat down with them. They are modest, humble, quiet heroes who did not feel comfortable talking about what it was they witnessed all those years ago until really just recently and they'll tell you that they're here for the heroes behind us, the more than 9,000 people who are buried here in the normandy American cemetery, those marble crosses behind me, they're here to honor their brothers who they have never forgotten, Cecilia. They are as you told me earlier this week, David, true national treasures and your tribute to them has just been very beautiful. Your coverage all week long so we thank you for that. David, we'll have much more from normandy on "World news tonight"
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