Veterans board Honor Flight to pay tribute to fallen heroes
PHOENIX (KSAZ) - Terminal Four of Sky Harbor is filled with the stories of American heroes and memories as 28 veterans boarded an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. to see the World War II memorial for the first time.
"Bring back old memories," said U.S. Navy veteran Red Brooke.
Brooke says these memories are of when he piloted an F4U4 in World War II.
"Well, flying this off a carrier... teaching me how to do it... and doing it... yeah," he said.
The 92-year-old is one of 28 veterans who are flying to D.C. to see the memorial for the first time. The World War II memorial pays tribute to the more than 400,000 lives lost, but also remembers the sacrifices of survivors like Norm Barthalow.
"You were on the island of Iwo Jima, you got there 24 hours after the Marines did and you didn't have enough food or water did you?" FOX 10's Liz Kotalik asked.
"No, they had to bring all the water in 50-gallon barrels and they allowed us one canteen a day totally... if you wanted to wash your face or shave and drink and that's all there was," he said.
Norm got kidney stones and was stuck in a hospital as bombs dropped from the sky. He told his doctors he was too tired to move and if they needed to leave they should just cover him with a mattress.
Across the room, 91-year-old Ken Graham remembers being a P.O.W. for nine months, but his experience with his captors was not what you'd expect.
"Our fellas put on a pageant and the guards brought in their families to watch our pageant," he said.
But the reality for many others is grim and painful. This trip, Ken says, is a way to help all of their legacies live on.
"I'm just thankful that I can go and pay tribute to these fellas that didn't make it back," he said.