September 2, 2014

AuGres veteran visits Washington, D.C., memorials

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AuGRES — One Arenac County World War Two veteran recently got the chance to take a free flight to Washington, D.C. with a group of other veterans.

Chris Miller, an 85-year-old World War Two veteran from AuGres, got the opportunity to participate in the Honor Flight Network program April 17, which takes veterans on a one-day trip to Washington, D.C.

“They were all so nice,” Miller said.

Miller and 40 other veterans left the Detroit Metro Airport early on April 17 and arrived in D.C. only an hour or so later.

“There were at least 100 people or more,” he said about the reception at the airport. “They were singing and cheering when we got off the plane. It was overwhelming for me.”

The group, which also included 15 support people from the Honor Flight Network, spent the day visiting memorials, including those for World War Two, Vietnam and Korea.

Miller said they also saw the statue of the Marines raising the flag at Iwo Jima.

“That is really tremendous,” he said.

Miller also said that the reception from people throughout the day was also nice.

“A lot of citizens would come up and shake your hand,” he said.

Miller served in the Army during World War Two and spent time in the Philippines and Korea. He said he was deferred for a little while before being drafted because he was working on a farm.

“We were slated to invade Japan,” Miller said. “We were almost overseas when they dropped the bomb (on Japan).”

He also said that things were different when he was overseas. Letters home were censored and people couldn’t call home.

“It was different than today,” he said.

Miller had already known about the Honor Flight Network and called for more information and an application; however, the information is also online at www.honorflight.org.

“I’ve never been there before,” Miller said about his trip to Washington, D.C. “I’ve never flown on a large plane either, and I’m 85 years old.”

The first Honor Flight took place in May 2005. By the end of the 2009, the Honor Flight Network flew more than 35,996 veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam to D.C.

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