Local WWII veteran gets to fly to memorial

WILLSBORO-The experience was, "Almost undescribable."

That is how Kenneth Coonrod of Willsboro described his trip to the World War II Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., last month.

"It was far above what I ever expected it to be," Coonrod, who served in the Navy from 1944 until 1946, said. "They treated us well the whole time and there were a lot of vets who took the trip."

The trip to the memorial was made possible through Patriot Flight, a volunteer organization affiliated with the National Honor Flight Network, which gives veterans a chance to fly for free to visit the memorial in Washington, D.C.

"They called me to get the application process going," Coonrod said. "Later, they called me back and said that they had a spot on the plane for me if I was interested."

The veterans that were part of the flight relieved welcoming receptions at the Albany International Airport, where they departed, as well as the Baltimore-Washington International Airport.

"It was overwhelming from start to end the way they treated us and the way people showed up to see us," Coonrod said.

Coonrod enlisted in the Navy in December of 1944, at the height of World War II. He served in the Pacific Theater, and was involved in the island conflicts on Guam and Okinawa.

Coonrod was preparing to be part of the initial waves of the invasion of the Japanese mainland when the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki led to a surrender by Japanese forces in 1945.

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