(CIMARRON, Kan.)—It’s hard to miss the twinkle in 85 year old Jim Hardesty’s eye when he flips through his book of pictures. The book is only about a month old and tells the story of Hardesty’s Honor Flight – a trip he earned more than 76 years ago.
“[At] 18 years old, you registered, got a number and when your number [was called] you went into service,” said Hardesty, who crash landed in France during World War II.
He and several dozen World War II veterans traveled to Washington DC in April, free of charge. It’s the same trip Eyewitness News was on two years ago. The journey gives the men the chance to see the National World War II Memorial built in honor of what they did decades ago.
“When you walk in there things just get kind of quiet,” said Hardesty, “and you look around and those guys are looking and looking down with tears in their eyes...it was the greatest thing that's ever happened to me.”
Since he’s been back, he’s made it his mission to spread the word about the donation-based program to make sure more vets get to experience the same thing.
“If you know of a World War II veteran and he hasn't been there encourage him to go absolutely,” said Hardesty.
The smile on Hardesty’s face will let you know it’s worth it.