On the 72nd anniversary of D-Day, a Valley veteran recalls parachuting into Normandy.
In 1944, more than 150,000 allied forces stormed the Normandy region of France to fight Nazi Germany. An estimated 10,000 allied soldiers died that day.
On June 5th, 72 years ago, World War II veteran Robert Barney took orders from the President. “Of course, the one thing that sticks in my mind, we don’t expect you to succeed,” said Barney.
When Dwight D. Eisenhower, sent off paratroopers into Normandy, Barney was there. He jumped out of a plane on D-Day with the 101st Airborne Division.
On that day, Barney never saw Omaha, the bloodiest of the beaches. Strong winds blew them off their intended landing and so did heavy gunfire.
“I could look at this guy and say, Jesus, I’m glad it wasn’t me. You are worrying about you and that’s the way it is,” he said.D-Day marked the beginning of the end for Nazi Germany. And at 96-years-old, Barney still remembers the worst part of the war .
“This German soldier, he was dead. He had pictures of his wife, couple of kids, and that’s when I realized, these people are no different than I am,” said Barney.
Every year a local group honors those who helped liberate the world from tyranny. They take them to Washington D.C. and their war memorial sites. Barney went on the second Central Valley Honor Flight two years ago. But a lack of funding might prematurely end the honor flights this year.
“They just quietly appreciate it, tear up, swap stories it’s a gift the central valley gives these men and women,” said CV honor flight president Al Perry.
So on the anniversary of D-Day, Barney is asking the Central Valley to help fund the trips, that gave him closure.
“That was the best, best, best. It was my parade down Fifth Avenue that I never got. And it finally sunk in I guess, that we’re privileged to be here,” said Barney.
The Central Valley Honor flight takes a trip at the end of June. But the group still needs $100,000 to make their September and October trips possible.