Jeanne and Ron Palyok and their family executed a trip that will not be forgotten by the 22 South Carolina World War II veterans and those of us privileged to be part of the 70th anniversary of D-Day. We are blessed to have such a family in South Carolina.
The warmth of the reception by the French people was overwhelming. Signs all over Normandy commemorated the anniversary, one noting “We all are 70.” Wherever our veterans got off the bus, crowds surrounded and sought them out, reinforcing their respect and admiration for overcoming the Atlantic Wall and the Third Reich. At the commemoration ceremony, our veterans were on stage with the presidents of France and the United States.
All S.C. veterans on the trip — Army, Army Air Forces, Navy and Coast Guard — reflected great credit upon themselves, South Carolina, the United States and especially their comrades in arms, present and past, who bought freedom to so many.
With escorts from the S.C. Highway Patrol, Richland County Sheriff’s Department and Patriot Riders, we were greeted by family, friends and veterans at Northeast Presbyterian Church for a wonderful ending to a magical trip.
Jeffrey W. Baldwin