102-year-old WWII veteran takes honor flight

 102 year-old Betty Casselman visits the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C.
102 year-old Betty Casselman visits the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. (WTVG)
Published: Sep. 21, 2017 at 6:45 AM EDT
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Dozens of veterans from Ohio and Michigan made the trip of a lifetime to Washington Wednesday.

The Flag City Honor Flight took about 80 veterans to visit the memorials around our nation’s capital. One of them was 102-year-old Betty Casselman.

“I did it because I felt it was the thing to do," said Casselman.

Casselman, from Fremont, Ohio, says she had a calling to join the Marines in World War II. This honor flight is the first time she's returned to Washington since the war ended. One of her three children joined her for the trip.

“It’s just a wonderful experience to come here to Washington," said Casselman. "There’s so much history and a very well-handled, beautiful day, and I’m thankful.”

Casselman was a kindergarten and first grade teacher. She applied those skills to teaching fellow Marines the difference between friend or foe.

“I taught them the difference between our planes and ships and enemy planes and ships," she said.

Casselman and dozens of other veterans from Ohio and Michigan joined her on the Flag City Honor Flight, based in Findlay.

Executive director Deb Wickerham said, "This is about showing our veterans our appreciation, our gratitude for all that they sacrificed,"

The group first toured the World War II Memorial and stopped for pictures at the Ohio pillar.

Organizers say this experience is also a lesson for younger generations.

“It is great that they have those memories and they have the experience, but it’s also just as important that they share their stories with us, so those stories are not forgotten, and so we don’t forget that freedom is not free," said Wickerham.

There is a surprise waiting for these veterans back in Toledo. Up to 1,000 family members, friends, and schoolchildren will be waiting to greet them once their plane lands.

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