WWII veteran returns to Springfield from Normandy

Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 9:41 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - Jack Hamlin first came to Normandy on June 6, 1944, as a coast guard member, rescuing soldiers from the water during the D-Day invasion. He recently received an Honor Fight to return to France to be honored for his services.

In early June, Jack received a hero’s send-off and was escorted to the airport by the Greene county Deputies. The only problem he and his escort, Dr. Norman Knowlton, encountered was the airline computers only recognize ages 1-99. With Jack being 100 years young, some special assistance was needed before he could board the plane. They are back in Springfield and wanted to share what they experienced on the trip.

“I tell you, it’s just a second home to me right now,” said Hamlin. “I met so many new friends this time. So many old friends are there that remember me, and I remember them from the hugs and kisses I did receive. It’s just a pleasure. I love those people who ever wanted to talk to the veterans.”

While on the trip, Jack could visit several WWII memorials, including Point Du Hac, Omaha Beach, and a tribute to the Filthy 13.

“I just remember the sacrifice of all those soldiers, the Rangers claiming that cliff,” said Hamlin. “I was looking at how they did it. A lot of them did not, of course, but they think they were trained for that they had the heart to do it. They were fighting for the French freedom for all their ages. It’s hard to describe.”

Looking back on his trips, there are so many memories, some more painful than others. Jack says he hopes others remember the sacrifices of the soldiers that did not get to come home.

“I hope you don’t have to go through what we all did, but if you have to go back, remembering you’re fighting for your country, you’re fighting for your honor,” said Hamlin. “You’re fighting for the freedom to live in that for it is the freedom to live in. There are so many of them who gave their lives that they’re the ones we have to appreciate.”

Jack has received many honors for his services, including the French Legion of Honor. Jack says he hopes to return to Normandy again next year. He will turn 101 in October.

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