WWII vetarans honored at Pillar of Honor reception

October 14, 2012 (CHICAGO)

It makes sense that if the veterans can't get to the memorial, then why not bring the memorial to them, and that's what a local veterans group did Sunday, as they honored the contributions and sacrifices of those who fought in World War II.

For some local World War II Army vets, it represented a thank you overdue.

At a special reception Sunday the original scale-model of the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. was unveiled to those unable because of age or illness to travel to the nation's capital to see the memorial in person.

"We have some vets in tears and they are just so appreciative. They said they've never been thanked before and that's all about," said Noreen Lake.

The Fleming brothers both served in the Navy during World War II.

"It's like Niagra Falls, you've got to see it to believe it, otherwise nobody can describe it to you, it was great," said 85-year-old Edward Flemming, who lucky enough to see the war monument in person.

Fleming enlisted when the family was mistakenly informed his older brother, John, had been killed after a German sub torpedoed his ship, the USS PC-558, in the Mediterranean in May of 1944.

"I don't know where that sub came from," said John Fleming. "We were chasing a sub and I ended up in the water."

The now 88-year-old seaman was awarded the Purple Heart and other commendations back then for his valor.

His sacrifice was celebrated on Sunday afternoon.

The 800-pound model was used by Senator Bob Dole to present the original memorial design to congress and remains a symbol for of how the war changed the direction of the world.

"It's kind of sad to see, especially in our generation that we don't acknowledge these heroes," said Adonis Holmes.

As their numbers fade, this day of honor validates and recognizes the contributions made.

"It's been a long time and I'm glad this is happening," said Army World War II veteran Rudolph Hartge.

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