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In appreciation: Flight was event of a lifetime for vets

It was humbling and gratifying to see how the Northland community and media honored our area World War II veterans during the Northland Honor Flight last weekend.

Bill Spehar
World War II Army veteran Bill Spehar inspects the Vietnam Veterans Memorial during the May 14 Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. (Steve Kuchera /skuchera@duluthnews.com)

It was humbling and gratifying to see how the Northland community and media honored our area World War II veterans during the Northland Honor Flight last weekend.

We veterans who were fortunate enough to go on the daylong trip also were honored by handshakes and applause at the Ronald Reagan Airport upon our arrival in Washington, D.C.

As many of us discussed during this well-thought-out and well-organized event, our range of emotions at times were hard to understand. Many years have passed since our World War II ended. Sadness many of us experienced while in our nation's capital was because so many of our comrades could not be with us for this historic event.

We visited the World War II Memorial, as well as other historic sites, including the Vietnam Memorial, the Korean Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. It was a journey not many of us dreamed we would ever be able to make in our

lifetimes.

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I thank the various organizations and individuals for their expert planning of this day. I thank the multitude of volunteers who helped and the citizens of Northeastern Minnesota and Northwestern Wisconsin who provided monetary support and their time to make the experience possible.

I also want to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to the Duluth News Tribune for its excellent coverage of the Northland Honor Flight of World War II veterans to Washington, D.C.

Bill Spehar of Duluth is an Army veteran of World War II, serving with Company D of the 222nd Infantry, 42nd Rainbow Division. After the war, he returned to Duluth to work for the state of Minnesota in the office of employment services.

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