The passing of the Greatest Generation

In the amount of time it took to brush your teeth this morning a World War II veteran passed away from old age. Now well into their 80s and 90s, the men and women who fought and won the Great Conflict are dying at the rate of more than 800 a day. That’s approximately one every two minutes.

At one time, there were more than 15 million WWII veterans in the United States. That number has now dwindled to a little more than a million and the median age of a World War II vet is now 92.

It is estimated by the US Veterans Administration that by 2036, there will be no living WWII veterans left to tell their stories of the sights, sounds, victories and horrors of the deadliest war in world history.

Regrettably, many will also never get the opportunity to personally view the National World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. that was dedicated in 2004 to the men and women who fought and died in World War II.

That is why the work being done by North Country Honor Flight should be recognized and lauded.

An arm of the national not-for-profit Honor Flight Network, the group was formed in March 2012 by Keeseville resident Danny Kaifetz with the goal of flying North Country WWII veterans to see the War II Memorial in Washington D.C.

The premise is simple. Many WWII vets do not have the finances or physical wherewithal to make the trip to D.C. In many cases, friends and family also lack the resources and time to complete the three-to four-day trip by vehicle to the nation’s capital.

With that in mind, North Country Honor Flight offers free transportation and airfare to and from the memorial. Accompanying the veterans are guardians who assist with the trip and the bus transporting them to Albany airport is flanked by veteran groups like the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, the Patriot Guard and the Legion Riders.

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