Organization treats Utah WWII veterans to Washington D.C. trip

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SALT LAKE CITY – A group of World War II veterans left Salt Lake City to travel to the nation’s capital Wednesday on a trip that will take them to memorials dedicated to their service.

Honor Flight sends veterans to Washington D.C. for three days so they can see for free the memorials dedicated to them, and more than 50 veterans were on a pair of flights out of Salt Lake City Wednesday morning.

Some who were part of the group have reached their ‘90s, and they said this could be their last chance to make such a trip. There are about 9,000 WWII veterans currently living in Utah. George Whittaker is one of those veterans, and he said he was glad to be going on the trip.

“It means a lot,” he said. “This is an opportunity few others get to take advantage of, and I’m grateful for it.”

Larry Blake volunteers with the program, and he said he is impressed by the humility of the veterans he’s encountered.

“It’s just amazing to see what they went through,” he said. “They’re not one to really talk or brag about what they did in the service of their country, and they’re very humble about this, and we’re just extremely grateful to be here.”

This is the first Honor Flight to leave from Utah, and the group expects to return Friday. The organization plans to carry out more flights this spring. For more information about Honor Flight and ways to get involved, click here.