Raleigh, N.C. — The World War II memorial in Washington is six years old, but many aging veterans haven't had a chance to see it. That's why a non-profit group is flying veterans from around the country to the nation's capitol. Three local men are planning to make the trek together.
Carl Blake, Jack Downs and Conrad Miller were all professors at North Carolina State University when they met and started golfing at least 30 years ago, at least once a week. But their bond runs a bit deeper because they are also World War II veterans.
They don't talk about the war much, but the understanding is there.
“It does bring back memories that I’d like to keep suppressed,” Blake said.
The trio of friends will travel to see the memorial this fall as part of the Flight of Honor program where donations cover the cost of the flight for veterans.
“I’m interested in what this memorial is all about,” Downs said. “They can’t have all the names. There are too many. I visited the memorial in Hawaii, and it was very nice.”
The friends said they hope younger people appreciate what they fought for.
“I would try to impress on them to value freedom very highly, to try to do anything to get rid of war all together,” Blake said.
WRAL is partnering with the North Carolina Automobile Dealers Association for the Flight of Honor. Veterans must apply for the flights and are accepted on a first-come first-served basis.