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Bend WWII veterans back from D.C. ‘Honor Flight’ trip


Howi, Mike and Walt are from very different backgrounds, but they have one thing in common: their service to our country.

Recently, 71 years after their service, the three were offered a trip to the nation’s capital through “Honor Flight” program.

“I can’t explain it,” Walt Young said Wednesday. “It was very astonishing.”

Every year, the Honor Flight takes Central Oregon veterans of World War two to Washington D.C., where they spend three days visiting war memorials, creating a camaraderie between their fellow veterans, and receive the honor they deserve.

“My entry into society was not much,” said Young.

Which is why The Honor Flight makes sure every year, veterans like Mike, Howi and Walt earn recognition for their service.

“There was a little guy about 4 years old in uniform standing there, and he was holding a salute as we went by,” recalled Mike Foree. “I just had to go up and shake his hand, because it just — tears came to my eyes.

“People were whistling and hollering and yelling — I mean, it just went absolutely bonkers,” said Young.

“I think we were all overcome by the welcome,” said Howi Graul.

Organizers of the Honor Flights say some veterans initially don’t have a desire to go, and Young was one of them.

“My feeling before we left was one of, well, do I really want to go?” said Young. “That lasted about 20 minutes — and it was a remarkable total experience.”

Foree’s desire to catch the flight was to honor his fellow soldiers who would never be able to experience it themselves.

“So many guys and gals didn’t make it back home to have an opportunity to do something like this, and it was heartbreaking to think about that,” Foree said.

If you are a World War II veteran or their family member and would like to apply, visit

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