WWII veterans visit their memorial 70 years after victory

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WASHINGTON — Friday was a day full of surprises as 46 World War II veterans toured our nation's capital as part of the Utah Honor Flight.

For Marine Bob Dalton, the day kicked off as soon as he exited the bus outside the World War II Memorial when two naval officers (who turned out to be his grandsons) immediately approached him. With one stationed in D.C. and the other in Rhode Island, he hadn't seen them in quite some time.

"I got off the bus and two officers greeted me," said Dalton. "I didn't recognize them at first, you know, there's a lot of officers around … men in uniform."

As they entered the memorial, the veterans were welcomed with a flood of applause from tourists, schoolchildren and other well-wishers.

While some signed up more than a year ago, they said the trip has been well worth the wait.

"I didn't know when I'd get to go," said Army veteran Joe Reece. "It was a surprise when I got the information that I had a date in May that I could join, and I'm thankful that it worked out."

"They said, man, they just had a terrific time," said Navy veteran Bill Samson, speaking of fellow veterans who'd recommended the Honor Flight to him. "So my daughter, watching TV, she filled out the application."

"It's fantastic. Just wonderful," said Army veteran David Bishop. "I look at those giant eagles over those pillars representing the states. It was fantastic."

This trip was a family affair for Bishop, whose brother James was on the same flight.

"We were both in the war, and we got in the same group,” said James Bishop. "I really enjoyed having him here."

The veterans plan to fly back home on Saturday. The Utah Honor Flight has two more trips to Washington scheduled this spring.

Email: rboone@ksl.com


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