Central Oregon World War II veterans headed to Salem on Friday to attend the dedication of the state's new WWII memorial. But first they got a great send-off, all the way from Bend through Sisters, on the 70th anniversary of the momentous D-Day invasion.
On a warm, blue-sky Friday, cheering residents lined the path of the Central Oregon veterans on their way to Salem.
"I'm so excited, I'm even shaking now," said Edward Rose, a D-Day survivor from Bend.
Many Central Oregon veterans who were in Normandy still remember well that fateful, historic day.
"There were like 500 planes above me. Like ants. I couldn't believe it," recalls Rose.
"Many, many of us have seen intense combat service," said Art Vinall, a WWII veteran.
They started their journey to Salem early in the morning in Bend, with two Deschutes County Sheriff's Office buses, a fleet of cars and motorcycles and the sheriff's department escorting them.
Along their whole journey, people were lining the streets and waving flags.
The veterans loved it all.
"It was very, very good. Beyond expectations," some of them said.
When they reached Sisters High School, they were greeted with big cheers and big colorful signs, thanking the "beloved" veterans for their service to our country.
"To see all those students, kids, parents just line the highway -- brought tears to my eyes," said Elie Bourque, a WWII veteran.
And after hours of waving back, some of the senior veterans grew tired, understandably.
"My arm -- I can hardly move," Bourque said with a laugh.
Then it was time to get on the bus again, to celebrate the heroes who fought for freedom 70 years ago.
"This is very meaningful," said Vinall.
"Oh, I will never forget it," said Rose.