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A flight to honor WWII veterans

Dorothy LeClair, an Army Nurse during World War II, holding a photo of herself, left, and her husband, Carl LeClair, who served in the Army during World War II.

Dorothy LeClair, an Army Nurse during World War II, holding a photo of herself, left, and her husband, Carl LeClair, who served in the Army during World War II. Photo by Shaun Kittle.

— 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.

Sitting in the VFW during the Cabin Fever event, he looked around the room, and began pointing out people he knew from his time in the war.

“It’s funny, you know,” he began. “There’s just so many of us.”

Kimberly Bouissey, guardian coordinator for North Country Honor Flights, knows a few vets, too.

Her father was in the Airforce for 24 years, and her son is currently in the Army Special Forces.

“I’ve been a teacher for 13 years, and for the last 10 years I’ve been involved with veterans,” Bouissey said. “All of my veterans are like a family.”

Each Honor Flight guardian travels to the memorial with two vets.

“I can’t even describe the joy it gives me,” Bouissey said. “I feel honored every time I meet one. I could win the lottery and it wouldn’t fill me up as much.”

Bouissey said that getting to know the vets is also a constant source of inspiration for her.

“They’re the reason we have this country, and to them it’s just a job,” Bouissey said.

But not everyone in World War II performed the job they signed up for.

Dorothy LeClair, a former Army nurse, was stationed at the now-closed Pilgrim State Hospital in Long Island for eight months.

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