WWII Veteran to return to Normandy after 75 years

Jake Larson, a World War II Veteran, will be returning to Normandy, France this June after 75 years. Jake is the last surviving member of a unit that stormed Omaha Beach. Many men died during World War II, and Jake often questioned why he had survived.

Jake, 96,  told the New York Times, “I never thought I’d be alive 75 years later. I’m the luckiest guy in the world.”

He currently lives in the San Francisco Bay Area and had only returned to France in his mind. His humble salary at a printing business never afforded such a luxury.

However, with the help of two women and an online fund-raising campaign, Jake can now return to France for the 75th Anniversary of D-Day.

“I can’t believe people would donate to me—they don’t even know me,” Jake stated.

Jake is planning to write a memoir and calls his trip to France the final chapter.


About the Author: Melissa L. Ter Burgh is a writing intern with VA’s digital media engagement team. She is a graduate student at Benedictine University completing a Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in Disaster Management and Epidemiology. 

Source: New York Times, NBC Bay Area


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  1. James Davis    

    Another veteran from VFW Post #2076 Punxsutawney, Pa will also be returning to Normandy for the 75th Anniversary. Walter Hurd was a Paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne and jumped into Normandy. Wally is a young 94 and will be accompanied by a fellow VFW member.

  2. Frank J. Steck    

    Mr. Larson is eligible for the French Legion of Honor Award, I would recommend that he contact the French Consulate in the San Francisco area to recommend him for the award. Also, there are French patriot organizations that will pay airline fare, housing, food, and local transportation for Mr. Larson and a caregiver for him to return to Normandy. You may contact me for details and information.

    1. Hallie A. Larson    

      My papa Jake was already presented with the French Legion of Honor Award on February 3, 2015!
      Link: https://sanfrancisco.consulfrance.org/spip.php?article3155

    2. Hallie A. Larson    

      My papa Jake was presented with the French Legion of Honor on February 3, 2015!

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