MILITARY -- November 11, 2010 at 11:32 AM ET
Honor Flight Program Helps Vets Visit WWII Memorial
On a beautiful fall day in Washington, D.C., children from a Virginia elementary school lined the path leading to the World War II Memorial waving flags and chanting "USA! USA!"
They were there to welcome World War II veterans who had come from points across the country to visit their war memorial for the first time. The veterans' trips were funded by an organization called Honor Flight, whose goal is to enable every living World War II and terminally ill veteran to visit their memorial free of charge. Once that mission has been accomplished, Honor Flight plans to do the same for veterans of the Korean, Vietnam and subsequent wars.
Frank Guentert, a World War II veteran from Sterling, Ill., who fought in Germany from 1943-46, visited his memorial with an Honor Flight group from the Quad Cities in Illinois and Iowa. After the group held flag ceremonies to honor today's fallen soldiers and World War II veterans who had passed away, Guentert shared his thoughts on his time in combat and what service means to him:
"All of the people that served - and it doesn't matter where, how, what job they had - when they did it and did it well, they were all part of the victory."
"We had no choice of where we would be, we had no choice of anything, we did what we had to do and we did it well."
"The part that I played - it was no different. Combat is not fun, and you consider every time you take a step out there, when you're in reach of the enemy, you never know."
"To kill another person is not something you want to be proud of, although it's a necessity to do your job."
"You go in there and you do your work, you do it as best you can, and hopefully you and everybody else come out alive."