NIJMEGEN, Holland _ T. Moffatt Burriss of Columbia, S.C., four days short of his 90th birthday, swooped down Friday onto a fallow field outside a small Dutch village, much as he had 65 years ago during World War II.
Jumping tandem with a female former Dutch paratrooper, Burriss touched down firmly, fell back onto the soft earth and beamed.
"I've been waiting a long time to do that again," he said.
In September, 1944, Burriss, a company commander in the 82nd Airborne Division, had been one of more than 25,000 U.S., British and Polish airborne troops who landed in southeastern Holland, in Operation Market-Garden. The bold attempt to open a corridor into Germany's industrial heartland and win the war was the largest parachute drop in history.
Less than four months after D-Day, the paratroopers were to take bridges over three rivers in Holland and guard a 65-mile-long route for British armor to punch through weakened German resistance. Ultimately, the operation failed because the tanks couldn't reach the northernmost bridge at Arnhem _ made infamous in the book "A Bridge too Far" and movie of the same name.
On Friday, Burriss said he flashed back to that day as he was drifting to earth.
"It brought back memories," he said after disengaging himself from well-wishers, dignitaries, a few hundred Dutch citizens, and about two dozen family and friends there to celebrate the anniversary. "But it was a little different back then. People were shooting at me."
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