Valley Veterans Finally Visit WW2 Memorial in D.C. - KMPH FOX 26 | Central San Joaquin Valley News Source

Valley Veterans Finally Visit WW2 Memorial in D.C.

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In front of the gold stars on the Freedom Wall In front of the gold stars on the Freedom Wall
Valley Congressman Jim Costa Valley Congressman Jim Costa
WASHINGTON (KMPH) -

On Wednesday, the World War II veterans made it to the memorial that pays tribute to their sacrifices to keep America free.

KMPH News anchor, Rich Rodriguez, was there in Washington D.C., to witness the incredible moment.

69 World War II veterans were all wide eyed as they entered the memorial.  A few had been there before, but for the majority of the veterans, it was their first encounter.

"It means everything ‘cause I've never seen anything like it. I just can't believe all the marble and everything they put in here," said Wallace Richey from Clovis.

Former U.S. Marine, Elmer Wright, wanted to read more about the gold stars.  Each star represents 100 American servicemen and women who died or are missing in World War II, a number that totals more than 405,000. "It means quite a lot to me.  I was a Pearl Harbor survivor too in 1941," said Wright.

Some World War II veterans took the time to read the etchings on the walls.  It was poignant and sometimes personal.  For one vet, the memorial helped jog his memory from more than 60 years ago. "It's just something I was happy to do. I was here in D.C. going through it on my way overseas back in ‘45 but I remember very little about it," said Walter Reese, a veteran from Squaw Valley.

Veterans marveled over the water features and tributes to each state.  One veteran told me it didn't hold a candle to what he had seen in magazines. "It makes me real proud and I hope I live long enough to come back and see it again," said Army veteran Ted Sanderson of Madera.

Following their 90 minutes at the World War II memorial it was off to the Library of Congress where Congressmen, Nunes, Valadao and Costa honored the veterans with a luncheon. There were many speeches but the message never gets old.

Congressman Jim Costa said, "That's what we're honoring here today… is your service to our country."

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