Tampa man honors WWII veterans by jumping in their shoes

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A Tampa man traveled to Normandy to reenact the 75th anniversary of D-Day, but he isn't stopping there.

David Blanco says he will return to Europe for the 75th anniversaries of Operation Market Garden and the Battle Of The Bulge.

For Blanco, the best part is spending time with the WWII veterans who did the fighting.

"They changed the face of the world. It was the liberation of Europe and that was world changing," says Blanco, 47, who operates his family's cigar business.

Blanco, an Army reservist, parachuted twice in Normandy from vintage C-47s - planes that actually flew for the invasion on June 6, 1944.

He said he was honored to spend time with Normandy veterans.

"I actually drank a beer out of a helmet with one of them," smiles Blanco. "It was the ultimate way for me to show, not only my admiration, but my thanks and gratitude."

Blanco says he will travel to the Netherlands in September and then to Belgium in December for the Battle of The Bulge observance. He hopes to return to Normandy for the 100th anniversary, though he knows the vets will be gone.

"I hope I won't be, and will be able to jump again, but I won't be able to shake their hands when I land," Blanco said.

That's why he says now is the time to thank the heros of 1944.