South Florida WWII veteran chosen for special Memorial Day tribute in England

MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida World War II veteran has been chosen to be a part of a Memorial Day tribute in England.

Over 75 years ago, Sydney Levit was flying over Europe as a paratrooper in the U.S. Army’s 17th Airborne Division fighting the Nazis in Europe.

On Wednesday, the veteran took off from Miami International Airport to London Gatwick Airport after he was chosen to represent the U.S. in a Memorial Day tribute.

“I’m thankful that I’m able to walk, and it’s an honor beyond my possible dreams,” Levit said. “They’ve remodeled a [Douglas] C-47 airplane, which is what I used in England in 1944, and they’ve remodeled it, and we’re gonna take a flight, which I’m really looking forward to, but I told them one thing: no parachutes. I’m not going!”

The 94-year-old Purple Heart recipient will be the only American at the Memorial Day Ceremony at the Cambridge American Cemetery, which is celebrating its 75th year.

“This cemetery has 3,800 young people buried there, and it’s beyond my comprehension,” Levit said.

MIA and volunteers from Honor Flight South Florida made sure to thank the 94-year-old for his service before his flight took off.

Levit enlisted in the Army when he was 18 years old and served with the airborne division until the end of WWII.

U.S. Army Brigadier Gen. Rafael Ribas said, “When he went overseas, he fought in the Battle of the Bulge as part of the 18th Airborne Corps. He later participated in Operation Varsity.”

“I was very, very lucky, and all I can tell you — you had to be young and dumb,” Levit said.

The great-grandfather said the trip feels like an early birthday present because he will celebrate his 95th birthday in July.

When asked what his secret was for staying young, Levit said, “I was never a big eater, so maybe that was good, but I love ice cream. I could eat ice cream every day, so my advice to you is don’t smoke, don’t over eat and exercise.”

When asked about the ice cream, Levit said, “That’s my business.”

Wednesday’s trip is the 94-year-old’s fourth trip thanks to Honor Flight South Florida.

Levit will be traveling with his son to London, which he said makes the trip even more special.

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