LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Mike Conner is a veteran who has devoted his time to building a military tribute center at the Ford plant.
Throughout his hard work and dedication to build a centerpiece for people to reflect, he has asked for one thing, to keep history alive. But as Memorial Day approaches he's fulfilling this wish across seas to be apart of a jump in Normandy to honor WWII veterans.
It was 75 years ago this year that D-Day transpired, and it was a period in history that would forever change lives.
"What they went through was horrific," Conner, also a former U.S. Army Paratrooper, said.
And for this year's anniversary, it could be one of the last with the just about 300,000 WWII veterans left to take us back to 1944.
Hundreds of thousands are flying across seas to recount what happened on D-Day.
Conner will be there to capture the moments. He says they are crucial to get a real account of what happened on June 6, 1944.
"Once those people that were actually there are gone you don't have any more eyewitnesses," Conner said.
The intent is to preserve the stories of the men who stormed the beaches.
"That's why we're here, that's why all of us do this, it's not for us, it's for them and for future generations so this isn't lost," Conner said.
And even in their nineties, many will be on this adventure.
"In fact, we even have a few of those paratroopers that jumped on D-Day, jumping with us again 75 years later."
The atmosphere makes you feel like you are going back in time in a plane that once brought troopers across the channel.
“It's like you can feel what happened all those years ago," Conner said.
The trip may bring back raw emotions.
But Conner said there is no pain, and no worry worth more than the honor of being a part of this jump.
"And this is for those people, those soldiers, and paying our respect, one last time to those that are left,” Conner said.
More than 6,000 soldiers died on D-Day. Conner said this experience of a lifetime truly leaves him speechless, but he can’t wait to share the stories when he returns from France. This Louisvillian will be jumping with a fellow veteran he met while serving. He also helped that veteran get re-certified in Florida.