UNION COUNTY, NC (WBTV) — Elementary school student Landon Knestrick is about to get on plane to fly to Colorado to speak at the funeral of 97-year-old World War II veteran Donald Stratton. A friendship between the two began in 2016.
Landon – who lives in Stallings in Union County – watched a TV documentary on the USS Arizona and became mesmerized with Donald, a survivor of that battle. It was Landon’s Christmas wish that year to meet the veteran.
His family found Donald through social media, and they FaceTimed while Donald was in Hawaii for the 75th anniversary of Pearl Harbor. From then on, their friendship kept going.
The following summer, the Stratton family was traveling to Washington, D.C. to meet with Congress and try to get the man who rescued Donald and five others on the USS Arizona an award posthumously.
The Strattons invited Landon and his family to Washington so they could meet face-to-face.