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Final Honor Flight South Dakota: Day 2

June 7, 2011, 6:35 PM by Erich Schaffhauser

Final Honor Flight South Dakota: Day 2
WASHINGTON, D.C. - More than 100 World War II veterans returned this weekend from South Dakota's final Honor Flight.

The final day of their two-day trip had the veterans visiting the World War II Memorial. But there were several stops beyond that as well.

The second day started slower than the first.

“This is one thing we put in the itinerary. Times will all depend on traffic and this is traffic,” a bus captain with Honor Flight announced to the veterans Saturday.

A marathon shut down several streets as organizers were trying to bus veterans to the memorial.

It was more than the Wayne and Verle Cutler from Claremont were used to.

Erich Schaffhauser: Do you have more tractors in Claremont or cars?
Verle Cutler: Sometimes more tractors than cars; always more pickups than cars.

But once they arrived at the memorial, the extra wait was worth it. The veterans took a group picture as many of them shared their own images from war.

"Never forget it, never. I know that," Delmar Strunk said.

Current service members visiting the memorial heard stories from the veterans.

Service member: What did you do in the military?
Kennedy Greggerson: Oh, I'd find anything to do.

Strunk volunteered for hazardous duty during the war.

"You never knew what was coming next; you lived by the minute," Strunk said.

And others said the same as they toured their memorial.

Dan Brown was thinking of his siblings as the group made their next stop, which included the Korean War Memorial. He had brothers who served in that war and World War II. But he's the only one living yet to see the memorials.

"It's a dirty, rotten shame; sometimes I feel a little bit guilty," Brown said.

The trip was winding down as the veterans visited the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial and a Navy museum. But its impact wasn't winding down for volunteers.

"What I will take out of this is, always knowing that there is someone who has done it before me and that there is someone who has actually paved the way for me to be where I am today," volunteer guardian Tara Sanders said.

That’s only one reason the veterans came home to a very warm reception, having finally seen the memorial honoring their service more than 60 years ago.

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