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North Country WWII veterans honored all the way to D.C.

Alfred Kurtz, of Elizabethtown, was one of 18 World War II veterans on the inaugural North Country Honor Flight to the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. Kurtz served for three years in the U.S. Army and spent most of that time in a stockade in Naples, Italy, where he did guard duty as a military police officer.

Alfred Kurtz, of Elizabethtown, was one of 18 World War II veterans on the inaugural North Country Honor Flight to the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. Kurtz served for three years in the U.S. Army and spent most of that time in a stockade in Naples, Italy, where he did guard duty as a military police officer. Photo by Shaun Kittle.

— As the sun rose over Vermont’s Green Mountains on Saturday, May 18, 18 World War II veterans left Plattsburgh to visit the National World War II Memorial in Washington D.C.

The trip marked the inaugural flight of North Country Honor Flight, a non-profit organization dedicated to honoring World War II veterans by taking them to the memorial.

Hundreds showed up at the Old Base Oval in Plattsburgh for a ceremony to see the veterans off.

More than a dozen uniformed troops, who stood at attention as the veterans and their guardians boarded the bus, were also on hand.

The crowd cheered and held up signs—”God bless WWII vets,” “One last mission”­­­­— as the bus pulled away at 5:30 a.m., led by a motorcade of motorcycles including the Plattsburgh Harley Owners Group, Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association, the Patriot Guard and the Legion Riders.

The procession snaked through Plattsburgh as it headed for Interstate 87 and the Albany Airport, all the while passing crowds of people waving flags and saluting.

The WWII veterans on the first North Country Honor Flight

  1. Napolean J. Light, U.S. Army, Peru
  2. Robert O. Brooks, U.S. Navy, Plattsburgh
  3. Merwin I. Cowles, U.S. Marine Corps, Plattsburgh
  4. Francis G. Delumyea, U.S. Army, Keeseville
  5. Gerald B. Edwards, Army Air Corps, Keeseville
  6. Henry L. Vincent, U.S. Army, Upper Jay
  7. Herbert G. Wemette, U.S. Navy, Keeseville
  8. William H. Thompson, U.S. Navy, Willsboro
  9. Andrew J. Juneau, U.S. Navy, Champlain
  10. Ralph P. Filion, U.S. Navy, Plattsburgh
  11. John B. West, U.S. Navy, Plattsburgh
  12. Kenneth D. Mitchell, Army Air Corps, Plattsburgh
  13. Rodney L. Wright, U.S. Army, Rouses Point
  14. Paul E. Gibeau, Army AIir Corps, Plattsburgh
  15. Robert L. Savarie, U.S. Army, Olmsteadville
  16. William T. Lowe, Army Air Corps, Plattsburgh
  17. Ernest S. Clifford, Army Air Corps, Crown Point
  18. Alfred Henry Kurtz, U.S. Army, Elizabethtown

More motorcyclists joined the growing parade at every exit, and people waited on overpasses to celebrate as the veterans rode by.

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