A group of Oklahoma World War II veterans is back Wednesday from a trip to Washington, D.C. Their visit came out of a community fundraiser in LeFlore and Sequoyah Counties, with the goal of getting them to the World War II Memorial. The News On 6â€™s Emory Bryan reports for one, it was just in time.
For most of the veterans, it was their first trip to Washington, and they were excited.
"I'm proud of my country,â€ said veteran Bill Sprouse. â€œI served this country, and I'm proud we're getting recognized as veterans."
No one was more proud than Sprouse, an Army veteran from Sallisaw, like the others, in his middle 80's. Old age is easily forgotten when you're on a bus behind a police escort into Washington, D.C. When the Oklahoma veterans showed up at the World War II Memorial, they got a second wind.
"Everybody come to us shaking our hands and thanking us, it was quite an experience really," said veteran Bill Shope.
And while they spent hours taking pictures and laughing, for the veterans, it was a reminder of brevity of life.
Wednesday, Shope is back home, attending the funeral of Sprouse, who went to Washington two days after he was diagnosed with cancer. He got to see the World War II Memorial, and then had a heart attack.
"We had several listed to go with us, who went out before we made the trip,â€ said Shope. â€œYou can see the age of the guys with strokes and heart attacks. I'm surprised Bill made the trip because he had just been in the hospital.â€
These men fought a war and never gave up, and because of that spirit, they finally got to see the memorial that honors their service and those who died.
The veterans all made the trip at no cost, with money raised by the community.