A race against time for south Florida WWII veterans

Next Honor Flight set for 2014

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - It is a race against the clock for many in the 'Greatest Generation'. Some of those veterans are aiming to take an Honor Flight to our nation's capitol. But can they get off the ground before it is too late? It will be several months before the next Honor Flight takes off from Palm Beach International Airport.

These days, Arthur Kreuter of West Palm Beach flies model aircrafts. During World War II, Kreuter searched for enemy submarines near Pearl Harbor as a U.S. Navy pilot.

"They were memorable years," said Kreuter, now 90 years old.

Kreuter is part of an aging generation, which means timing for these veterans is everything. Last month, Kreuter was on board a different kind of flight - an Honor Flight - to Washington, D.C. The whirlwind tour included a somber stop at Arlington National Cemetery.

"I probably will not get back to that cemetery again to view that," he said. "That was my last chance." Kreuter feels fortunate. He survived the war and then decades later was able to reflect at the memorials built in his honor.

Of 16.1 million World War II veterans, only about 1.7 million are still alive. They are dying at a rate of more than 600 each day.

"They are going to lose many more," said Kreuter. "That gap is closing." He wonders how many more veterans get the chance to take the Honor Flight that they deserve.

"That was probably one of the more memorable experiences in all of my life," he said.

The next Southeast Florida Honor Flight leaves from PBIA in Spring of 2014. An exact date has yet to be set. To learn more about getting someone on board, click here .
 

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