Program honors WWII vets

Written by Observer editorial reports May 20, 2013 02:21 pm
Veterans from World War II are becoming a more and more exclusive club. Consider this: A person who joined the Army at age 18 in 1941, is now 90 years old. It is estimated that the nation loses 800 World War II veterans every day.

That’s why it’s great that Honor Flight Network is making it possible for local World War II veterans to fly to Washington, D.C., to visit their own memorial and see other sights.

In the week leading up to Memorial Day, which honors the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. armed forces, it’s a good time to remember vets both living and dead and their sacrifices to make our country free. 

World War II was the most widespread war in history, with more than 100 million people serving from about 30 countries. More than 400,000 U.S. citizens were killed in the war, which stretched from 1939 to 1945, and resulted in the liberation of Europe and the Nazi death camps and saw the only wartime use of nuclear weapons, the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan. The U.S. and the U.S.S.R. emerged as superpowers, which spawned the 45-year Cold War.

Those who fought and survived World War II were shaped forever by the experience. And
they deserve our thanks for preserving our
freedoms.

One such way to thank vets is the Honor Flight program. It’s moving to hear about 87-year-old Harry Bigler of Union, who made his first trip to our nation’s capital over the weekend, thanks to the program. The program is paid for by donations, not taxpayers, and gives World War II veterans the chance for what many is a once-in-a-lifetime trip to pay homage at the National World War II Memorial. It’s a time to honor their running mates, many of whom gave their lives in the war.

We hope the few remaining surviving World War II vets in Northeast Oregon who are healthy enough and able can and will take advantage of this well-deserved program.