May 9, 2008 -- "Local vets visit the WWII Memorial in Washington"

Three veterans of World War Two thumb through photos, sharing memories--not only of the war, but of their trip to the WWII Memorial in Washington, DC.

Wilbur Thousand, who served in the Army Air Corps, says, "It was just good to see so many fellows that are close to our own age, and the camaraderie that exists between the groups over the years."

The one-day trips to Washington are free. Paid for by Louisiana HonorAir which wants to give every vet a chance to visit the WWII Memorial.

"It makes you feel real good, and the WWII Monument is a thing of beauty," says Navy veteran J.P. Pennington. "Sen. Bob Dole there every Saturday greeting the veterans. I have a picture with him, and I'm very proud of that."

The trip also takes in Arlington Cemetery and the Tombs of the Unknowns.

Marine veteran Jack Sarradet says, "It's so impressive you can't even think. It's magnificent."

During each trip four veterans are selected to take part in a wreath laying.

When the veterans land in Lafayette, the homecoming is beyond belief. A band plays, people cheer, and each veteran is escorted by a member of the Louisiana National Guard.

"I came back from overseas well before the war was over," says Sarradet. "When we came under the Golden Gate Bridge, there was one lady up there waving a white handkerchief at us. I'll remember that as long as I live. So there was quite a difference in the receptions!"

Quite a difference, indeed. This time it's not a hanky. It's a US flag. And it's not being waved by just any lady. US Senator Mary Landrieu is greeting the soldiers, sailors and marines--joining all of us to say, "Thanks, guys."