Jill Atwood ReportingFor many Utah World War II veterans this weekend is particularly special because they were able to attend the World War II Memorial dedication in Washington D.C. More than 20 Utah veterans and their families posed for a picture right before returning home.
When you look at the men inside the extraordinary tribute, it's hard not to get a lump in your throat. Memories and stories, some buried for sixty years, now coming to the surface.
Some memories bring feelings of pride…
Clinton Sagers, Rush Valley, UT: “I said, ‘Sergeant Red, I’m too beg for a scout.’ He says, ‘Sager, you are my best soldier. You are my first scout.’”
Others bring tears…
Dick Dixon, St. George, UT: “All of those crews were lost except for mine during the campaign. It was an emotional thing for me.”
They're now in their late 70’s and 80's, but imagine them in their teens and twenties, in their prime, some never coming back.
Clinton Sagers doesn't walk very well anymore; frozen toes and shrapnel in his leg caused his limp. Clinton was a POW towards the end of the war -- always cold, always hungry. This story comes right after he was captured.
Clinton Sagers: "I was crippling along with this wound in my leg. Shrapnel isn't smooth it was tearing into you so I was going along and I was dropping behind and I could hear people shooting behind me. And a soldier come by and he said, Soldier if you can make it you better make because they are shooting them that drop out behind.’"
Dick Dixon flew B-29 bombers over Japan -- thirty missions with many close calls. He's got strong feelings about the use of the atomic bomb.
Dick Dixon: "These people that say it was a terrible thing to drop the atomic bomb. Certainly it was, it ended the war and saved all these people that would have otherwise been killed."
Bob Nixon can't help but think about all the veterans that couldn't be here, most have passed away and of course hundreds of thousands never made it home.
None of his buddies are here, but he can't help but feel a real connection anyway.
Bob Nixon, Provo, UT: "Looking at around at all the old veterans and realizing that every one of them had been through something that wasn't pleasant. And yet they are here. This is a special place and i love the tribute."
Noel Page, a Riverton veteran who was in Washington this weekend, called us and told us after we interviewed him and put him on the news Saturday that he woke to American flags all over his lawn this morning.