(WASHINGTON) — A group of American lawmakers will honor the bravery of World War II veterans who took part in D-Day with a parachute jump into Normandy Friday morning, using some of the same vintage planes that flew American paratroopers over France 80 years ago.

The lawmakers are all military veterans, and will be led by Reps. Jason Crow, D-Colo., and Michael Waltz, R-Fla. Also participating in the jump are: Reps. Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, Ronny Jackson, R-Texas, Rich McCormick, R-Ga., Mark Green, R-Tenn., and Cory Mills, R-Fla. and Darrell Issa, R-Calif.


Crow, an Army Ranger who served in two units that played key roles in the invasion of Normandy, told ABC News’ Jay O’Brien that the ceremonial jump “is about recognizing service and sacrifice,” and remembering that “America is at its best when we come together, unite under common cause and purpose.”

“We serve and we make individual sacrifices to do big and important things,” Crow said in an interview in Washington shortly before leaving for France. “And in an era where we’re wondering about our place in the world, about American leadership, this is a reminder that American leadership matters.”

Waltz said the jump is a way to honor World War II veterans and pay respect to their sacrifice.


“This will be the last major anniversary with the World War II veterans. The youngest that we know of is 96. The oldest is 107. We need to honor them and need to keep their story and their sacrifice alive,” Waltz said. “What better way to pass that story on to the next generation than by jumping out of a perfectly good World War II-era aircraft?”

Waltz, the first Green Beret to serve in Congress, said that “American people need to see” lawmakers from across the aisle come together, and that electing more veterans to Congress would benefit the country.

“If we’re all in a tank or a ship or a plane together just a few years ago, as veterans, as Americans, we’re all willing to die together and we should be able to roll up our sleeves and get things done,” Waltz said.


Both Crow and Waltz performed a parachute jump over Normandy with French paratroopers five years ago, for the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

“There’s no better way to get you out of the airplane than to be in an 80-year-old aircraft,” Crow joked. “It freaks me out a little bit. But these pilots are great. The maintenance is great. It’s a very, very safe exercise.”

Waltz said the first thing you notice while jumping “is that it’s beautiful,” he said of the French countryside.


“Second, you’re really close to the ground.”

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