WWII veterans depart on trip to visit places they served during war

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. -- Six local WWII veterans departed for Europe Friday morning on a "Trip of Honor" that will take them to the areas where they served.

“When they left it, oftentimes it was war-torn, it was destroyed, and they didn’t know what their impact was really doing in the grand scheme of things," said Elaine Oakes, a volunteer with the Forever Young Senior Veterans organization. The organization tries to return veterans to areas where they served, or where there are memorials from that conflict.

Lt. Col. (Ret) Earl Miller, 96, is one of the vets participating in this trip. He still remembers the destruction left behind, although, he doesn't like to talk about it.

"It was a massacre," he remembered. "Lot of bodies lying all over the ground. That’s something that’s embedded in your brain and you lived it from day-to-day.”

He was a fighter pilot. He protected flights of bombers going to and from Germany on a daily basis.

“They told us before we even started out…you’re expendable," Miller said.  "And you can’t worry about it. You just do your job and we got the job done.”

This group of six veterans will be visiting Belgium, Luxembourg, and Germany.

“It can be very moving," Oakes said. "There are lots of tears shed while we’re there."

Miller is looking forward to reviewing the history he was a part of.

“It was something I did," he said. "And it was a life and death situation. And I just want to go back and see what it’s like today.”

The group will be returning from their Trip of Honor on Saturday, Sept. 14, at 4:45 p.m. The community is invited to join the welcome party at the airport.

To follow their trip, check out the group's Facebook page

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