WASHINGTON, D.C. (FOX 26) - In 2004 one of the most beautiful memorials at the National Mall opened up, the World War II Memorial. There pillars represent states like Texas, surrounding a pool in the middle and at each end sits an arched walkway for the two oceans the war was fought in.
For veterans like Elgin King, it represents a long time ago, he served with six siblings. "I joined at 16 years old, I wanted to be with my brothers and my mother and daddy signed for me", says King.
For others it makes them think of the more specific moments during the war. Elton Evans recalls helping General George Patton. "Patton's jeep ran over mine and it flipped over and he jumped up over the half track and we had to take him back to town to keep a new jeep. well he was just another man and we were there doing a job", says Evans.
Cecil Newton remembered a moment of triumph while flying home with the 87th division of the Army Infantry. "I was over there 5 months, come back over here through the states on my way to Japan, got here while the Japanese surrendered", says Newton.
While at the memorial, student would stop and take pictures with the heroes. A color guard representing each branch of the military also stopped to honor the veterans.
Another neat thing about the memorial was the "Kilroy Was Here" inscriptions, but you had to really look hard to find them. "We cheated, our guide told us", says Melvin Maltz. "I heard about it but I haven't found it", says Cecil Newton.
The funny shaped nose and hidden inscription add to the beauty of the memorial and add a funny piece of history for those who remember. "Kilroy was a rivet inspector in the Navy and he would go down and inspect the back side of the rivets to make sure they were in properly and to let people know who came down later that they had been inspected, he left his name", says Maltz.
For many the trip was also a chance to mingle with those that served in the same war, but for two friends it was a sort of reunion. Maltz says he, "happened to mention it and he said, lets go, I figured, might as well".
Maltz and Gerald Grogin met when they were in the same class at the beginning of grade school. Now both in their early nineties, the two men ventured on the trip together. The pair both thankful for the opportunity to see their memorial.
"It's enjoyable he got us this deal to go on Honor Flight and it's been one of the blessings of my lifetime to come up to Washington and see the things we thought and worked so hard to accomplish in our lifetimes", says Grogin.