Honor Flight takes World War II veterans to see memorial

EUGENE, Ore. - Seventy years after their service in World War II, some Oregon veterans got another kind of homecoming Sunday.

The veterans arrived back at Portland International Airport after an all-expenses paid trip to Washington, D.C., to see the World War II memorial.

This was the third flight organized by the South Valley Chapter of Honor Flights. The next flight is scheduled for fall.

Honor Flights aims to take World War II veterans to see the memorial.

"The time to recognize these men and women is rapidly running out," said Mike Pungercar with Honor Flights.

Navy veteran Steve Babjar, 91, of Lebanon made the flight.

"It was beyond any expectations," Babjar said. "That's all I can say."

"We love him dearly," his daughter Sharon Mathiesen said, "and for 91, praise the lord, he was able to make the trip and he just loved it."

Seeing the memorial - and welcoming the veterans home from the trip - is a way of thanking them for their service.

"They've never seen people thanking them like this or seen the appreciation for the sacrifices they made 70 years ago," Pungecar said.

And the patriotic spirit still burns in the hearts of veterans like Babjar.

"If I had a reason to do it again, I'd go again," he said. "Tomorrow."