SUGARCREEK TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WDTN) – A war brought them together.
“We were miles apart until I came to work at Wright Field,” says Donna Martin.
Donna was an Iowa girl who went to Radio Electronics Communication school to help in the war effort.
Jim Martin was a paratrooper who fought in some of the most famous battles of World War II.
It was love at first sight, almost.
“Jim kept wanting me to marry him and I kept saying no, I wasn’t interested,” Donna says.
Always a fighter, Jim didn’t give up. Eventually Donna said yes.
“We didn’t know each other quite 6 months and we’ve been married 68 years so it lasted,” Donna says.
On D-Day, Jim and Donna had yet to meet.
70 years later, she got to see what it was like for him to parachute into France, almost.
At 93, Jim, known to many as Pee Wee, made another D-Day jump into Normandy on this 70th anniversary of the historic invasion.
Donna wanted to go with him but couldn’t because of health issues.
“I had always wanted to make a jump with him,” Donna says.
Ask him and Jim will tell you what he did all those years ago wasn’t heroic.
“People say it was sacrifice,” Jim says. “To me it was no sacrifice. It was an honor and a privilege to be a part of history.”
Donna has a different point of view. “Yeah he’s a hero,” Donna says. “He took a chance on losing his life to save people.”
Now the battle for Jim and other D-Day veterans from his unit is against time.
“We lost six from the end of last year to the first part of this year,” Donna says.
So, anniversaries like this one are a chance for them to share their stories of a war that changed their fates and the world’s.
“I wish more knew about it and appreciate the fact they have the freedoms they have today,” Donna says.