WASHINGTON D.C. — "It stirs emotions that have never been stirred like that before," the Meridian man said, voice breaking slightly. "When you've seen men die by the hundreds, something like this takes on a new meaning. It means a lot."
Even seeing dozens of pictures of the memorial can't prepare a WWII vet for the actual experience, Pogue said, which he said can only be described as "touching."
Pogue, who was an Army demolition specialist, is on the free Honor Flight trip with 87 other WWII veterans who flew from Gulfport to Washington this morning.
The group is enjoying lunch at the WWII Memorial before loading buses to continue on to the Lincoln, Korean, Vietnam and Iwo Jima memorials. They will end the day with a trip to Arlington National Cemetery to witness the changing of the guard.
Benjamin Hays, an 89-year-old from Pascagoula who was a medic in WWII, said the memorial should be meaningful for all Americans.
"It represents the faith and sacrifice of our ministers and soldiers in WWII," he said, noting this was his first time to visit. "I think it's just wonderful."
This afternoon, the veterans will return to Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport, where the public is encouraged to welcome them home around 7:30 p.m.