Hero Flight was able to raise $185,000 to give 132 veterans from all over Utah the chance to fly to Washington D.C. for a three-day visit this month, after receiving news that their trip scheduled in May to visit the national memorial dedicated to them had been cancelled. The vets and their loved ones, totaling a group of around 240, took off from Hill Air Force Base to embark on their trek.
Once in D.C., the veterans were able to visit the World War II Memorial and other area landmarks. Wallace Luderman of Bountiful was just one of the several Davis County veterans on the trip able to remember the bravery of fellow soldiers who lost their lives with honor. During the war, he was in a group of 13 friends who deployed from Salt Lake City, and only three of those 13 came home alive.
"I'm glad I was able to give thanks to the buddies I lost," he said. "Our tour guide took us all over D.C, and it was also nice to see the Korean War and Vietnam Monuments in addition to the World War II Monument."
Wallace's wife Eloise was grateful that these men, who are now in their 80's, were able to relive memories from when they served in World War II.
"The 132 World War II fellows there left from Utah and were taken to D.C. to be honored. It's absolutely wonderful that the government did this for these boys," she said. " It's quite an honor they were able to do this after serving 62 years ago."
According to the Utah Division of Veterans Affairs, altogether there are 17,700 WWII veterans still alive and residing in Utah.