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July 3, 2014

WWII veteran set to take Honor Flight

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MT. VERNON — —

Lee also has battle maps of the invasion, sand from Normandy, invasion money, photos he took, newspaper clippings and even artwork from overseas.

He said 95 percent of the soldiers involved in the war he was part of are already gone.

Between 25 and 35 veterans, including Lee, will take part in the Honor Flight to Washington in August. The veterans and their guardians are set to visit memorials dedicated to WWII, the Vietnam War, the Korean War and the Arlington Cemetery.

Lee said he was offered to take the flight before but did not go. He changed his mind when the trip was offered a second time because he heard stories from other veterans who went.

"A lot of the guys have gone and told me the trip was wonderful," Lee said. "My son-in-law, Randy (Saladin), is going with me on the trip as my guardian. This is his first trip to Washington.”

Lee said this will be his first time seeing the WWII Memorial, but it's not the first time he has been to Washington D.C

Saladin said he is excited to take the trip with Lee and is happy the veteran has decided to go.

"I believe that Bill is definitely a World War II hero. He accomplished so much during the five years of service and the five campaigns and World War II," Saladin said. "He has been given a lot of awards and medals but was never given a Purple Heart because he was never hurt or wounded, not even on Omaha Beach. He and I have gotten kind of close and he has told me stories and shown me several things he brought back from overseas."

Lee said the most common question he is asked when it comes to D-Day is: "What was it like when you were there?

His response is that some GIs will say: "If you weren't there you don't need to know but if you were there then I don't need to tell you."

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