CLEVELAND, Ohio (AP) -- A group of World War II veterans won't get to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Allied invasion of France next month
the way they wanted -- the Army decided they're too old to safely parachute into Normandy.
"I am depressed. I was really looking forward to it," said Howard Greenberg, 79. "My reason for wanting to do it was to honor two Jewish friends of
mine who were killed in World War II."
"I resent being told I'm not physically fit. I only weigh 11 pounds more than I did the day I was discharged," he said.
Greenberg, a retired optometrist in suburban Bay Village, served with the 11th Airborne in the Pacific during the war and jumped into Normandy in 1994
on the 50th anniversary of D-Day.
Bob McCaffery, co-chairman of the veteran parachutists' group, said he was notified of the Army's decision on Thursday.
"The Army realized that these guys have trained and they are the exception among average 80-year-olds," said McCaffery, of Las Vegas, Nev. "But
they said the risk of an injury happening at a ceremony of this magnitude was just too great."
Greenberg said he was aware of the danger.
In 1995, he was one of six WWII paratroopers who went to Russia for an airborne tribute. His jump was canceled after the man who jumped before him was
killed when his parachute failed to open.
In 2000, while performing a tribute near Fort Bragg, North Carolina, another member of Greenberg's group was killed when his parachute did not open
"My wife was not crazy about me jumping again," Greenberg said.
Okay, I admire these guys for what they want to do and I might have a way they can do it.
What if they were allowed to jump in tandem with current members of the Army's airborne troops ? This way, someone else is basically doing the work
and they're just along for the ride, right ?