Terminally ill veterans' wishes granted - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Terminally ill veterans' wishes granted

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Photo courtesy Rep. Rahall's office Photo courtesy Rep. Rahall's office
Photo courtesy Sen. Manchin's office Photo courtesy Sen. Manchin's office
Photo courtesy Sen. Manchin's office Photo courtesy Sen. Manchin's office

WASHINGTON D.C. (WVVA) - Four area veterans made an emotional trip the nation's capital Wednesday in what could be their last chance to visit the monuments erected in their honor.

The two World War II veterans -- Archie Wells and Henry Dunbar, one Vietnam veteran -- William Baldridge -- and Korean War veteran Walter Bradley made the trip to Washington courtesy of the Denver Foundation and its TLC (Their Last Chance) Honor Flight.

Each veteran is terminally ill and in hospice care.

Charlie Thomas, the Vice President of the Always Free Honor Flight-- the only honor flight group in West Virginia, said this trip had to be planned precisely, and quickly.

"This will be their last opportunity to get the chance to go see their memorials," Thomas said, "have their pictures taken with it and have their families get pictures of their veteran at their memorial that they'll have forever and always."

The national Honor Flight organization and some local businesses sponsored the trip, with the Denver Foundation.

While in Washington, the veterans visited with West Virginia's delegation, including U.S. Rep. Nick Rahall, and U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin.

"Our war memorials serve as timeless reminders that we must honor those who stood in harm's way so that freedom's light could continue to shine," Rahall said. "As a nation, we can never fully repay our veterans for their service and sacrifice but we must never quit trying to honor them in our thoughts, prayers, and deeds."

"These four men served our country with distinction and valor, and I cannot stress what an honor and a privilege it is to welcome these brave veterans at their memorials," Manchin said of the visitors. "Showing our appreciation to the men and women who have served this nation is something we should do each and every day. But today is truly a special day to be able to spend time with four veterans who are so patriotic that their dying wish is to visit our nation's capital and the monuments built to commemorate their service. It is my distinct honor to spend some time with these devoted vets and pay tribute to the men and women who have served our great nation."

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