BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - They made sacrifices to help save the world. This is the first in a special series of reports on a group of local World War II veterans who went on an "honor flight."
For 27 local World War II veterans, the day began at 5 o'clock Saturday morning.
U.S. Army veteran Robert Schuller said, "This trip today was something fantastic, right from the beginning in the Buffalo Airport, and then when we walked into the Baltimore Airport, fabulous, I just choked up. When they greeted us passengers and everyone."
This was the first time any of them had seen the World War II Memorial built in Washington six years ago for what they did more than 60 years ago.
U.S. Navy veteran Roy Hankin said, "I think it's wonderful that we got this, but it took so long to get it. I mean, we were almost the forgotten group."
The gold stars at this memorial represent the 400,000 who died in World War II.
"I mean, it's very, very tragic to see this and realize how many of the boys, 'cause they were boys, went down. I mean, that's earth shattering," said U.S. Marine Corps veteran Natalie Yaskow.
U.S. Army veteran Wilbur Frey added, "When I came home from the war, they said go to work, get a job and pay taxes."
The "Greatest Generation" is now a vanishing generation. World War II veterans are now dying at a rate of more than a thousand every day. This is the second Honor Flight from Buffalo. The goal is to do five more next year, but it relies on donations. $300 sends one vet on this trip back in time.
U.S. Marine Corps veteran Dominic Etopio said, "Today, there could never be another day like today. It'll live in my memory."
CEO of Honor Flight Buffalo Dan Dunkle said, "They make me feel so humble when they're saying "thank you" to me. I'm saying "thank you" to them."
"Someone finally thanked us today, you know," said Schuller.
Visit Honor Flight Buffalo's website to find out how you can help.
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