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"When I saw the memorial, it was the first time I realized what had happened in the war," Wooten said. "We were a bunch of kids at the time. We did what we were asked to do and we were survivors when there were 400,000 others who died."
Honor Flights were intended to give those men a chance to see the nation's gratitude for their years of sacrifice before it was too late. As a young Woodlawn High graduate, Wooten served in a platoon that suffered heavy casualties fighting in Europe, but he said he went years without thinking about the war until he New Balance Blue And Gold
Those veterans are dying at a rate of 850 each day, and the VA estimates only 855,000 American WWII vets will still be alive by 2015.
"We've always said New Balance Minimus Womens this is time limited," said Pam Nichols, co director of the group. "We're reaching the point where we've got to realize we've done all we can do."
Other Alabama Honor Flight chapters, or hubs as they are called, have stopped making the flights. The hubs are an offshoot of the national Honor Flight organization started in 2005.
"We landed with 200 men, but by the time we reached the Elbe River there were only 12 of us left," Wooten said.
Seven people had to cancel their plans to be part of Wednesday's flight because of health problems, Nichols said.
Honor Flight Birmingham plans to take another group of veterans to the memorial on Wednesday. memorial, Honor Flight Birmingham is preparing to make its final flights.
As the vets advance in age and battle declining health, the nonprofit group has decided to stop accepting applications at the end of December and likely will make one final flight in 2011.
Once the final flights are made, Nichols said she believes Honor Flight Birmingham will have served all veterans from its coverage area Jefferson, Shelby, Blount, St. Clair, Walker, Talladega, Calhoun, Etowah and Black New Balance Fashion
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saw the memorial.
Decades of work as an engineer took Wooten around the world after the war, but the memories flooded back during his Honor Flight.
who want to, and are physically able, to make the journey.
Honor Flight program for Birmingham World War II veterans winding down
Time has been an obstacle since the Birmingham chapter formed in 2007. The World War II memorial was not complete until 2004, almost 60 years after the war ended. Department of Veteran Affairs, approximately 2 million of the 16 million Americans who served in the war are still alive.
On Wednesday, the group will make its 13th trip, taking 93 veterans, 71 guardians and Honor Flight officials on its final voyage of the year. Honor Flight Birmingham has taken 717 veterans, free of charge, to see the memorial in the last two years.
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