BEND, OR -- The last World War II veterans from east of the Cascades will travel to the WWII Memorial in Washington, DC in a couple of weeks. Over the past five years, the Bend Heroes Foundation has sponsored 240 veterans on the trips.
Yvonne Drury, Vice President of the foundation, says WWII vets are now in their 90s. The group has offered all of them in eastern and Central Oregon the opportunity to go. "It's really important because I know all these guys, they changed the world, they saved the world from tyranny. 70 years has gone by, and they just came home, went to work and raised their families and didn't say another word about it. But now, it's really nice for them to see their memorial, which wasn't even built until 2005."
Drury took her first trip with her 96-year-old father in 2001. "It's life changing for them, it's life changing for their family members that go along with them, and it's life changing for all of us volunteers who have worked on it. I just am overwhelmed when I stop and think, even though I've been on two trips. I can still get tears in my eyes when I see things about honoring the veterans and remembering what they did."
The final Honor Flight for local vets will be September 16. Veterans visit different war memorials in the nation's capitol and meet with Oregon's Congressional delegation during the four-day trip.