Very few Pearl Harbor survivors are still with us. After tireless searching, Honor Flight Austin found two. They're now in Washington, D.C. for the 75th anniversary ceremony.
75 years later William Flatters can still see the attack on Pearl Harbor just as vividly as when he experienced it.
"I was actually on special duty that day when the plane came overhead. He strafed the barracks. I lost a button on my shirt,” said Flatters. "The plane was about the height of these lights as these lights. I could see the man's face. I don't think I'll forget it."
The sights and smells the 20 year old endured were chilling.
"Complete devastation like a tornado had gone through and then they burned it. Twisted metal, burned out planes,” said Flatters. “The smell is something you never forget where some of the boys got caught in the fire, burning. "
For a year volunteers with Honor Flight Austin did their best to persuade Flatters to travel to D.C. to see the national memorial and to experience the respect he and other veterans of his generation so deserve. This anniversary, he gave in.
"I guess I got the honor of being one of the last ones walking around,” said Flatters.
Flatters, who is also a Purple Heart recipient, joined eight other world war two veterans.
Marine Dick Zellers of Lago Vista was in college at the time of the attack.
"Those men aboard those ships deserve all of this honor that we're receiving today. A thanks would be sufficient, but not for those guys. Their memories will last forever,” said Zellers.
After a short service at the airport the men departed for D.C. In addition to attending a special anniversary event at the World War II Memorial, they will make a stop at the White House.
Wednesday, as the nation pauses to remember the fallen, flatters hopes you will remember this, "Just take care of our country. We don't want to lose it."
December 7 marks the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor and Honor Flight Austin is sending several local World War II veterans, including two who were at Pearl Harbor, to a special event in Washington, D.C.
Ten veterans in total are on the flight. Their flight left just after noon from ABIA.
When they arrived to the airport, the veterans were greeted with a procession led by the TSA Honor Guard and the Austin Police Department Bag Pipes and Drum Corps.
The veterans will visit the White House and attend the Pearl Harbor anniversary event at the World War II Memorial.
This is the 39th Honor Flight for the Austin non profit. The volunteer run organization flies World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veterans to view their memorials in D.C. which are dedicated to honor their service and sacrifices for our nation.
Trips on Honor Flight are made possible at no cost to the veterans through donations.
The group returns in the evening on December 7. The public can join Honor Flight Austin for a welcome home greeting at around 8 p.m.
For more information you can go here.