Oklahoma World War II Veterans To Visit Washington Memorial

Friday, October 8th 2010, 10:06 pm
By: News On 6

By Lacie Lowry, The News On 6

OWASSO, Oklahoma -- The trip of a lifetime is right around the corner for dozens of Oklahoma World War II veterans.  Next week, they will fly for free to Washington D.C., where they will finally see their memorial.

Owasso chose to honor two of those veterans at their football game Friday night.

The World War II veterans were not only the honorees at game. The retired Army soldiers watched their neighbors turn a dream into reality.

"I think it's one of the most wonderful things they could do for us guys, I really do," Harold Bell, World War II veteran, said.

Harold Bell and Joseph Osburn will soon be on a flight to Washington D.C. to visit the memorial dedicated to their service and sacrifice.

"Oh, well, when I found out I was going it made me feel good," Osburn said.

They won't pay a dime for it, thanks to the organization called Oklahoma Honor Flights and public donations like these.

Bell is 85 years old and from Sapulpa. He served in Sicily and Italy with the 10th Mountain Division, which specialized in fighting under harsh terrain and weather conditions.

"Hell, for me. I've been through hell, but I made it," he said.

Osburn is 91 years old and now lives in Owasso. He served in the 9th Infantry Division as a Demolition Specialist and stormed Omaha Beach on D-Day. He was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

"I can't describe what it was like, but it was something that turned into something good," he said.

Many World War II vets never got to see the memorial and time is running out for others.

The Honor Flight Network estimates we are losing more than 1,000 World War II veterans each day.

"I know what it's all about, but I'm just real excited to see it," Bell said.

Bell and Osburn, as well as 100 other World War II veterans from Oklahoma, will be on the next Honor Flight, which leaves Tuesday, October 12th.

Tuesday's flight will be the second Oklahoma Honor Flight; the inaugural flight was in May of this year.  Honor Flights consist of the veterans leaving and coming back the same day, a 24-hour trip that many have waited a lifetime to take.

It costs roughly $400 for one veteran to make the trip and Honor Flights are entirely funded by donations.