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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Dozens of people were on hand at Sky Harbor International Airport Wednesday to wish safe travels to a World War II veteran embarking on an emotional journey.

George Cross arrived to find veterans from the Arizona Patriot Guard Riders and supporters waving American flags in Terminal 4.

“I knew I was going to come and fly away, but I didn’t know all this was going to happen,” says Cross.

[WATCH: Arizona veteran returns to Normandy for anniversary of D-Day]

He was a 17-year-old paratrooper when he jumped past enemy lines on D-Day.

“I jumped out a perfectly good airplane, but I don’t know how good it was afterwards,” says Cross.

Now he’s heading back to Normandy for the first time. June 6 will mark 75 years since the invasion that became a turning point in the war.

“He’s quite the character,” says Tim Gentry of Arizona Patriot Guard Riders. “He’s got a lot of energy and a lot of spunk.”

The trip is made possible through donations.

“It brings tears to my eyes,” says Cross. “Because I love this country and I want to go back and see what we did to save this country.”

Cross hopes to connect with old buddies during the trip. He’ll be escorted by a Vietnam-era paratrooper.

“I’ve got a young man that’s going to go with me, and thank God for that because I’m 94 years old and I’m getting kind of weak in the knees here,” says Cross.


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