JOHNSONBURG — A Johnsonburg man sat just to the right of U.S. President Donald Trump as he commemorated the 75th anniversary of D-Day last week.
Joe Scida, 94, is a U.S. Navy veteran who risked his life piloting landing craft into and out of the Omaha Beach area, transporting fellow soldiers during the invasion in 1944, said his son, Tom Scida.
Scida left England for the invasion on LFT 495.
Tom now lives seven doors down from his parents.
Scida met his 93-year-old wife, Kay, in England.
This isn’t Scida’s first trip to Normandy, though. He has returned seven or eight times, Tom said.
This time, Scida was among 16 veterans who traveled to France on the RMS Queen Mary II, Tom said. He travels with The Greatest Generations Foundation international organization based in Denver, Colorado.
TGGF is dedicated to honoring the sacrifices of all veterans who served in World War I, World War II, the Korean War and Vietnam, ensuring their legacies are told, retold and never forgotten, its Facebook page says.
Up until TGGF reached out to his father, Tom says he was reluctant to talk about his war memories. His first trip was around 10 years ago with many U.S. cadets.
“There are guys who get there and simply break down,” Tom said.
Fox 31 Denver newscasters accompanied the veteran, documenting the entire trip, his son added. A 45-minute video of the adventure is to be released soon.
“They kept asking him to go back because he’s a good representative,” Tom said.
Scida was also able to visit the gravesite of a good friend killed that day.
The phone was ringing off of the hook, Tom said, when family and friends saw Scida sitting next to the President on national television that day.
“We are all proud of him,” Tom said. “We are so thankful for what this organization does for veterans. They love them, and it brings peace to their heart.”