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Honor Flight: Emotional visit to WWII Memorial


Fifty of Oregon’s World War II veterans had a stirring, emotional first full day in the nation’s capital Friday as they visited the memorial built to honor those who served in that war, along with visiting the U.S. Capitol.

From awes to handshakes to smiles. Oregon’s veterans arrived at the memorial built in their honor, the World War II Memorial. Every pillar represents one state.

For these veterans, this was more than just a photo opportunity.

“A lot of emotion,” said World War II veteran Robert Grills of Bend.

“To see the World War II Memorial is a sight that everyone needs, to appreciate what the United States means for all of us who fought for it.” said fellow Richard Ford from Bend.

A nation is forever indebted to these heroes, and we will not forget the price many of them paid for our freedom.

Every star at the memorial represents a hundred American souls lost in the war. In a sea of stars, emotions were catching up with many, even 70 years later.

“It brings back all the memories, people I knew who lost their lives,” said WW II veteran Betty Ashford from Portland.

A wreath was placed in honor of their service. And even 70 years later, the next generations have learned what they did, and why it’s so important.

Many kids came up to the veterans, thanking them for their service.

“On a day like this, it’s so very special,” Ford said. “Not just for us, but to those that we meet and give us appreciation for what we did. And that is just an incredible feeling in itself.”

“It’s wonderful. Absolutely wonderful,” Grills said.

“Well, it’s overwhelming. Nobody paid any attention to me at home,” Ashford said.

The next stop was the U.S. Capitol. On the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court, Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., welcomed our veterans.

Inside the Capitol, several of Oregon’s representatives spoke to the veterans, including Sen. Ron Wyden, D-ore..

“The Honor Flight is so special for the Oregon delegation because here in Washington, D.C., we can have these big debates — and the reason we have these freedoms here and across America is because of veterans like those we honor in the flight.”

Walden added, “They served the country and fought for freedom, and their stories are remarkable.”

The day ended with a tour of the U.S. Capitol to close out a most memorable day.

On Saturday, the Oregon veterans visit the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, as well as Arlington National Cemetery

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