Delta, Best Defense Foundation Partner To Mark 80th D-Day Anniversary For Veterans
For the third year in a row, Delta Air Lines is honored to fly 50 World War II veterans back to Normandy, France, to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the D-Day invasion that catalyzed the war’s end – marking only the third time a U.S. passenger airline will fly directly to Normandy, with the other two being the Delta Charter flights to Normandy in 2022 and 2023.
In partnership with Best Defense Foundation and the support of Michelin North America, Inc., Delta will provide a special charter flight directly to Deauville, Normandy Airport from Atlanta on June 2 on a Boeing 767-300, returning June 12, to support the veterans as they are recognized and celebrated with parades, school visits, ceremonies, the official D-Day Commemoration and more.
Best Defense Foundation provides caretakers for each WWII veteran throughout the program, including 15 Delta employees from its Veteran Business Resource Group – who receive special training to provide the safest and most memorable experience for the veterans. The airline is also piloting a volunteer program this year for its employees, which will pair an employee with a WWII veteran to build a relationship and offer support throughout the year.
“It is our privilege to celebrate and honor these heroes by flying them directly to Normandy and recognizing their incredible sacrifices and contributions to the world,” said Delta CEO Ed Bastian. “Supporting our armed service members and veterans, which we have proudly done throughout our history, is central to Delta’s values of always putting people first.”
Delta is proud to partner with Best Defense Foundation and the globally renowned French company, Michelin, two organizations that share Delta’s value of servant leadership – which in this case means ‘taking care of the ones who took care of us.’
“As time passes quickly for our WWII generation, it is our duty and honor to provide this opportunity of closure and camaraderie for those who gave so much,” said Donnie Edwards, President and Co-Founder of Best Defense Foundation. “With Delta as our Presenting partner and Michelin as a supporting partner, we are able to scale up this year’s program to provide this opportunity for more of our WWII heroes than ever before.”
In addition to honoring these veterans, the program seeks to engage and educate communities across the world so that the legacy of the Greatest Generation will live on. That’s why Best Defense Foundation – in partnership with Delta, Michelin and the Consul General of France – will select students to participate in its Next Generation Program, an opportunity to learn alongside these veterans about D-Day and WWII.
“The 80th Anniversary of the D-Day Landings in Normandy will be a very special opportunity to honor WWII Veterans through various events, and also to pass the torch of remembrance to the next generation,” said Hervé Morin, President of the Normandy Region. “We will also pay a special tribute to the memory of all those who fought for restoring peace in Europe. They sacrificed their youth and endured immense suffering, and Normandy wishes to express its deep and eternal gratitude.”