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A flight to honor veterans

Dorothy LeClair, an Army nurse during World War II, holds a photo of herself, left, and her husband, Carl LeClair, who served in the Army during World War II. North Country Honor Flights is transporting local veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the World War II memorial there.

Dorothy LeClair, an Army nurse during World War II, holds a photo of herself, left, and her husband, Carl LeClair, who served in the Army during World War II. North Country Honor Flights is transporting local veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit the World War II memorial there. Photo by Shaun Kittle.

It would be the first of many such flights.

On Saturday, May 18, North Country Honor Flights will bring its first group of veterans to the memorial, and Cowles will be among them.

“I almost see the guys that got killed and hurt,” Cowles said. “I have that feeling that they’re there, and I’m there. It (visiting the memorial) is something that is most necessary in my life.”

Danny Kaifetz is the director of North Country Honor Flights, which is a part of the larger Honor Flight Network.

“It’s not about me,” he said. “It’s about them. This is the best way to honor them.”

Currently, North Country Honor Flights has two flights scheduled—one on May 18 and the other June 15. There will be two more in the fall, but the dates have yet to be determined.

The Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization, so it relies on contributions and volunteers to fund the flights.

To that end, the North Country Honor Flight held its second annual Cabin Fever party at the VFW in Keeseville on Saturday, March 2.

Chicken dinner sales, raffles and an auction helped raise money to send five veterans on the upcoming honor flights.

For many of them, it will be their first time seeing the memorial, but some have been there before.

John West, a former Navy Seabee, visited the memorial as part of a senior bus tour about three years ago.

“The Seabees were all men with experience, guys in their 40s,” West said. “We did a lot of concrete work for ammunition dumps. We made a lot of 36-inch, reinforced concrete walls.”

The Seabees, which is a play on “C.B.”, for Construction Battalion, often went into a region first to clear the way for the rest of the troops.

West said the World War II memorial is important for all the vets to see, and praised Honor Flights for making it happen.

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