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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The event started even before dawn, and with the arrival at ILM you knew it would be a special day. The fire department was there to say hello to the veterans getting ready for their Honor Flight.

Inside veterans of World War II were in for the ride of their lives: a trip to the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC.

It didn’t take long to get everyone on the chartered jet. The fire department also wanted to wish us a good flight. And before you knew it we were in Washington, parting traffic and arriving at the memorial.

The World War II Memorial is divided in to two parts like the war: Atlantic and Pacific. The layout is impressive positioned on sacred ground between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial. Each state and territory at that time is represented on pillars, including North Carolina.

The Freedom Wall is a special place with 4,000 stars to represent the 400,000 Americans who died in the war. Its reflection pool is inspirational.

The Honor Flight took almost 100 World War II veterans from southeastern North Carolina. They had stories to tell

Our vets have special feelings about the place that is made just for them, but that wasn’t all. They returned tired and sentimental to the place it all started, and to a heroes welcome.

As Will Rogers said. We can’t all be heroes. Some of us have to stand on the curb and clap as they go by.

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