WASHINGTON (KELO) — The World War II Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. offers several memorable views from one spot. To the west, a visitor can see the Lincoln Memorial; to the east, the Washington Monument rises with the U.S. Capitol as a backdrop. If a tourist happened to be there in recent days, he or she might have spotted another memorable view: 81-year-old veteran Sharon St. Germaine holding hands with fellow veteran and husband 94-year-old Al.
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“Oh my God, he’s a hoot,” Sharon said.
The Custer, S.D. couple has been married for 48 years.
“When she sets her mind on something, might as well forget it,” Al said. “‘Cause that’s the way it’s going to be.”
“Oh, he’s so much fun,” Sharon said. “He is so funny. And he’s very kind, very gentle. He makes toys for the orphanages around the state of South Dakota.”
They were among the honored veterans on the Midwest Honor Flight trip to D.C. on Sept. 26.
“To me, it’s a humbling experience in more ways than one, and I’m kind of mad at myself for not coming long, long time ago,” Al said. “And I’m, feel just blessed today.”
Each served in the Army, although in different eras. Al, who is 100% Chippewa, began his service in early 1946, less than a year after Japan surrendered, and he spent three years as part of the occupying effort there. Sharon served stateside from 1961 to 1964.
“We were training the troops to go to Vietnam, and then we were shipping them to Vietnam,” she said.
The World War II Memorial includes distinctive golden stars; each honors the legacy of 100 Americans killed. Al knew some of them.
“I had a lot of friends that died,” he said.
Their day in Washington, he says, was special.
“Seeing all this, and thinking of a lot of people you knew that are gone,” Al said. “That should be here.”
And it was a day they could experience together.
“Really fun,” Al said. “It was really great.”
“We lift each other up,” Sharon said. “And it would be difficult for me to, it’d be very difficult for me to be here without him being here.”