This Honor Flight could be last to feature Peoria-area WWII vets

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We’re just hours away from takeoff for the last Greater Peoria Honor Flight for the year, and this flight is special for plenty of reasons – but there are also somber tones, as well.

Honor Flight officials tell us there’s a good chance this honor flight could be the last with World War II veterans aboard.

Veterans of the Greatest Generation have some amazing stories to tell.

“We went in to the Siegfried line, and we had a little action there. I was carrying- at that time, a flamethrower,” said retired U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Verne Petersen, a WWII veteran.

Petersen served across the European theater, making his way through Belgium and Germany and helping hold the Siegfried line.

“I mean it’s…kind of a scary situation. But…it’s something that we had to go through to be able to survive,” said Petersen.

And for WWII veterans like Petersen, service to country was the greatest thing they had to offer – whether they fought in combat or not.

Such was the case with aerographer’s mate Ronald Scott, essentially a weather man, who sailed to Antarctica with the legendary Admiral Richard Byrd.

“There’s always danger and different things you didn’t know what you were doing for sure, because it was all so new to everybody. But we did,” said Scott.

Both Scott and Petersen are flying out Tuesday, October 16 on the final honor flight for the year – and are two of the three World War II vets included. There’s also a good chance they’re some of the last well enough to travel.

With a population of even the youngest in the 90’s, these heroes know there are only a few of them left. But they’re more than happy to share their stories.

We’re asking for your help tomorrow night to come out and give all of our veterans a welcome home celebration they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.

The plane lands at 9:30 p.m., but you should be at the airport earlier. We want to make sure this is one for the record books.



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