Family Pilots Prepare for Flight Over D-Day Memorial For 70th Anniversary

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BRIDGEWATER, Va. (WHSV) -- People across the country will come together for the 70th Anniversary of the D-Day Invasion to remember both those who died and those who served and are still with us on Friday.

For one family, honoring those veterans means taking to the skies.

Karl Stoltzfus is combining his passion for flying with his love of history. Seventy years ago, hundreds of C-47s flew over Normandy. On Friday, Stoltzfus will get to follow in the veterans' flight path.

"It's more of a feeling, it gives you this sense and feeling of being part of that era of the world," said Karl Stoltzfus.

His flight will take him from Bridgewater to Bedford, flying over the D-Day memorial, as thousands gather to honor the veterans at Friday's ceremony.

He will not be making the trip alone. His grandson will be joining him in the passenger seat. Gabriel Stoltzfus said, he hopes to be just like his grandfather one day, "I want to be a helicopter pilot in the Navy."

The two have flown more than 50 flights together, but say this one will be one of the most memorable, as they fly over the memorial for the first time.

"In relationships, you look for what common threads bond you together. Certainly for Gabriel and I, it is history and it's a love of aviation," said the elder Stoltzfus.

It is a flight he is not only sharing with his grandson, but the entire Shenandoah Valley and D-Day war veterans.

At the D-Day National Memorial, they expect to have visitors not only from the Valley, but all over the country. This is flyover happens at 11:15 a.m. on Friday, at the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford County.


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