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Vets return from WWII memorial visit

Posted November 4, 2010

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— A group of World War II veterans from the Triangle returned home on Thursday evening after a day-long visit  to the memorial in their honor on the National Mall.

The 100 veterans were part of the second Flight of Honor, which took off from Raleigh-Durham International Airport at about 8 a.m. and returned just over 12 hours later.

The nonprofit Triangle Flight of Honor provides all-expenses-paid, day-long trips for WWII veterans to see the memorial, which was dedicated in 2004.

A couple thousand people were at the RDU parking deck on Thursday night to give the veterans a  "Hero's Welcome."

"I'm here to praise them. They've been through difficult times and they came back successful," Triangle resident Robert Povlock said.

"I can't handle it. The most surprising thing (was)  to see this many people come and see some old guys like us. It's unreal," veteran Paul Salvatore said.

Vets return from WWII memorial visit Vets return from Flight of Honor

WRAL viewers and online visitors donated more than $50,000 to sponsor Thursday's trip, as well as a flight in October.

Before the veterans departed, RDU firefighters provided a water-cannon salute, sending an arch of water over the plane as it taxied to the runway.

In Washington, veterans toured the WWII memorial for an hour in the rain before visiting other war monuments and memorials honoring Abraham Lincoln and Franklin Roosevelt.

"Oh, it was beautiful, even though it rained. It was very inspiring. I loved it," veteran Allen Woods said.

The trip brought tears to the eyes of veteran Clyde Miller.

Flight of Honor organizers say they want as many of the aging veterans – many of whom are ill or on fixed incomes – as possible to see the WWII memorial.

Triangle Flight of Honor is organizing another flight for next spring.

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  • garyt Nov 5, 2010

    Great job by Ken Smith. He really portrayed well the feeling you get being at these events. Bravo to him and all who came out to celebrate these veterans and their service.

  • scottb Nov 5, 2010

    True Heroes, let us not forget what they endured with no phones internet and only mail back home that took months to get. These should be taken care of and treated with the respect they have earned.

  • dmccall Nov 5, 2010

    I choked up watching the story..the first time I saw it (6weeks ago when they did it), AND this time. We don't have many more chances to thank these people, and I'm so glad that people showed up and made this a special return for all of them.

    WRAL, PLEASE keep us informed of the next day-trip by this organization!!

  • sssh.. whisper Nov 5, 2010

    This story brought tears to my eyes reading it.. Welcome back home vets! Your past acts of bravery is what makes this country what it is- you are ALL TRUE HEROES!

  • NC Reader Nov 5, 2010

    I wish I could have been there to see these veterans. It brings tears to my eyes every time I see them -- especially now that so many are gone.

  • gwbrowni Nov 5, 2010

    This wasn't always so.
    My dad fought across Europe, Omaha Beach to Marseille.
    I would like to thank the sponsors for making the vets feel they didn't waste their time in a vain display of bravado over there that solved naught, except US could manufacture more than appliances. Good grief.