Isakson Concludes Commemoration of D-Day 75th Anniversary at Ceremony Recreating Airborne Landings at Normandy

Visits with U.S. airborne soldiers, U.S. military, embassy officials, French government

U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., greets a World War II veteran at Sainte-Mère-Église, France, as U.S. and foreign airborne units recreated the jumps made by American and Allied paratroopers 75 years ago on D-Day.

SAINTE-MÈRE-ÉGLISE, France – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, today wrapped up an official four-day trip to France at a ceremony in Sainte-Mère-Église, where U.S. and foreign airborne units recreated the jumps made by American and Allied paratroopers during the D-Day invasion more than 75 years ago along the coasts of Normandy.

This week, Isakson led a bipartisan delegation of 17 senators to France to commemorate the 75th anniversary of D-Day. Jumping along the same routes onto the beaches of Normandy, hundreds of paratroopers today recreated the jumps in tribute to the landings by more than 13,000 Americans from the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions on June 6, 1944. Other allies who participated in the D-Day airborne operation included British 6th Airborne Division and the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion.

The joint naval, air and land invasion, named Operation Overlord or more commonly referred to as “D-Day,” began just after midnight on June 6 and was the start of Allied forces’ campaign to liberate Nazi-occupied Europe. More than 6,000 Americans died that day 75 years ago, but their sacrifice and heroism marked the beginning of the end of World War II.

“It has been an incredibly moving week,” said Isakson. “From visiting with World War II veterans who were a part of the D-Day invasion to witnessing the recreation of the incredibly difficult tasks they faced, I am especially grateful for the sacrifices made by our greatest generation. Without the selfless devotion of our armed forces, we would not be living in the greatest country on the face of this Earth.”

U.S. airborne units participating in today’s jump included the 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team out of Vicenza, Italy, the 82nd Airborne Division and the U.S. Army Civil Affairs and Psychological Operations Command out of Ft. Bragg, N.C., the 75th Ranger Regiment and Airborne and Ranger Training Brigade out of Ft. Benning, Ga., and the Germany-based U.S. Special Operations Command Europe. Isakson and other senators visited with airborne soldiers following the jump.

Isakson and the bipartisan Senate delegation began the week on Thursday, June 6, at an official D-Day 75th anniversary ceremony at the American Cemetery of Colleville-sur-Mer attended by President Donald J. Trump and French President Emmanuel Macron along with more than 150 World War II veterans, U.S. elected officials, U.S. armed service members, dignitaries from our allied partners in the French government, and other participants. 

In addition to Isakson, senators who traveled to France with the bipartisan Senate delegation included U.S. Senators John Barrasso, R-Wyo., John Boozman, R-Ark., Ben Cardin, D-Md., Susan Collins, R-Maine, Deb Fischer, R-Neb., Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., Josh Hawley, R-Mo., John Hoeven, R-N.D., Angus King, I-Maine, James Lankford, R-Okla., Martha McSally, R-Ariz., Pat Roberts, R-Kan., Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., Rick Scott, R-Fla., Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.

On Friday, June 7, and Saturday, June 8, Isakson and members of the delegation met with the head of the French Senate Foreign Affairs and Defense committee and other members of the French Senate at the Senate Building in Paris. The senators later met with Jamie McCourt, U.S. ambassador to France, and visited the U.S. Embassy. They also received a briefing from Major General Joseph Jarrard, U.S. Army Europe deputy commanding general for the Army National Guard who is also from Isakson’s home state of Georgia.

Photos from the week are available here.

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The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is chaired by U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., in the 116th Congress. Isakson is a veteran himself – having served in the Georgia Air National Guard from 1966-1972 – and has been a member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs since he joined the Senate in 2005. Isakson’s home state of Georgia is home to more than a dozen military installations representing each branch of the armed services as well as nearly 700,000 veterans.