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Columbia Man Helps Veterans Visit WWII Memorial in DC

Story by Jennifer Wilson (since moved on from WIS-TV)

A Columbia man has started a campaign to bring Midlands veterans to the World War II Memorial in the nation’s capital.

“It’s one of the most beautiful monuments I’ve ever seen,” says Bill Dukes, Jr.

Bill Jr. has founded a local chapter of the national group “Honor Flight” that raises money to take World War II veterans for free to the memorial that honors them.

Bill Jr. was inspired by his father, a 92-year-old World War II veteran.

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Bill Dukes' Inspiration for forming Honor Flight SC

No son could have been prouder of his father than I was as I stood at his side with our families surrounding us at the World War II veteran’s Memorial in Washington DC. It was a hot muggy day in June, as we stood there taken in completely by that special moment.

I tried to imagine the thoughts that had to be racing through my father’s mind. Now, at age 93, he stood proud and erect reflecting back on the heroic actions of young Sergeant William E. Dukes,more than 60 years ago when he fought for his country and earned the Purple Heart for his wounds suffered. And he had to be thinking too of his buddies who had fought alongside him. It is difficult to put into words what this experience meant to our father, my brother and I, our wives and especially to our dad’s grandchildren who were with him at the memorial. It was a moment I shall cherish forever.

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