SUFFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A Suffolk resident is back from attending the 75th D-Day commemoration in France.
94-year-old Jack Ewald left at the beginning of June to remember the tide turning battle in World War II.
He was only 19 years old when he landed at Omaha Beach and fought to help liberate those living in Normandy.
“It was a hot spot, but we made it through,” he said about him and the more than 100 others who attended the recent ceremony.
Before heading to France, 10 On Your Side spoke with Ewald about his trip.
He was excited to go and honor those who lost their lives.
Ewald says at the event, all the World War II veterans were in wheelchairs, including himself, but seeing his fellow veterans energized him.
“Soon as I started talking to them, I just got rejuvenated. It was like I didn’t feel weak at all. It felt good seeing all those guys and knowing they made it through just like me 75 years later,” he said.
If you watched the internationally broadcasted ceremony, you could see Ewald sitting right behind the podium.
“I didn’t have anything to do with that. I don’t know who put me there but it’s where I ended up sitting,” he laughed.
The trip also consisted of Ewald retracing his path from Normandy to the United Kingdom.
He was thrilled to go back to areas in England and Scotland he hadn’t been to in 75 years.
It was the trip of a lifetime for Ewald, who was surrounded by his family and those who also served.
“Most of the guys there were just like me, plain ole guys just like me. We weren’t special. Maybe we did some special things, but we did what was expected. We didn’t want to let our buddies down and that was important,” he said.
Ewald hopes to attend the 80th anniversary in 2024.