A special treat for Nonnewaug High School students Thursday, who got a very special field trip to the Oxford Airport to see World War II -era planes and meet a veteran who was part of the D-Day invasion in the Normandy region of France 75 years ago.
“We got to witness history,” said Jack Paz, a Nonnewaug student. “I respect them.”
A lot of respect was shown by members of the public, who came out to see the planes and meet Lt. Col. Dave Hamilton. He’s 96 now, but when he was 21 he was an Air Force pilot, flying in allied troops so they can make it to the ground and storm the beaches in their successful mission to free Western Europe from Nazi control.
They changed world history in the face of danger.
“They had people shooting at them,” said Matthew Jalowic, a member of the WWII Airborne Demonstration Team. “They had anti-aircraft fire that was trying to take the aircraft down before they even got out.”
Because of the enormity of their feat, parents wanted to bring their kids to the airport to see a piece of living history and appreciate the freedoms they enjoy today because of it.
“I’m a big history buff and appreciate all that the soldiers have done for us,” said Alicia Belinsky of Oxford.
Her kids also got a kick out of looking up in the sky and seeing the vintage aircraft soaring over their town. The public has another chance to see them on Friday.
On Saturday, they’ll fly over the Statue of Liberty, then they’ll be on their way to England, where Queen Elizabeth will see them, then it’s off to Normandy for the official commemoration of the 75th anniversary of D-Day next month.
Several world leaders will be there. So will Lt. Col. Hamilton.
“It’s going to be a great event,” he said.
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