Southern Arizona veterans travel to World War II Memorial - WNEM TV 5

Southern Arizona veterans travel to World War II Memorial

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Retired Army Air Corps Radio Operator Darrell Reatherford travels from Tucson to the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C. Retired Army Air Corps Radio Operator Darrell Reatherford travels from Tucson to the World War II memorial in Washington, D.C.
WASHINGTON, D.C. (Tucson News Now) -

The shutdown did not keep a group of Southern Arizona veterans from seeing a memorial built in their honor.

Seventy-seven veterans are in Washington, D.C. as part of the "Honor Flight" program.

This is the largest honor flight ever from Southern Arizona; organizers combined three flights into one.

"I'm pretty old for a trip like this, but maybe I can stay young a little while longer," said World War II veteran Darrell Reatherford.

It's the trip of a lifetime as retired Army Air Corps Radio Operator Darrell Reatherford joins nearly 80 other Southern Arizona World War II veterans on a trip to see the memorial dedicated to them in our nation's capital.

The group visited the memorial on a whirlwind tour today, slightly adjusted because of some closures during the shutdown, and Reatherford says it's something he's looked forward to for decades.

"Took 'em a long time to get that built," he said. "It's gonna be something special."

Technically, the memorial remains closed, but barriers in front of it have been pushed aside.

Southern Arizona Congressman Ron Barber was there to greet the veterans.

"This group, the Greatest Generation, they've been called, really were," Barber said. "They saved the world from tyranny. And we have to make sure that they know how much we appreciate what they've done and their service, and bringing them back here is very important."

KOLD News 13's Dan Marries is on assignment, traveling with the group. Stay tuned for updates from the road on air, online and on social media.

We'll be bringing you more of Reatherford's story, coming up on Veteran's Day.

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