WASHINGTON, D.C. (WUSA) -- They received a hero's welcome.
World War Two veterans from Michigan, Kentucky and Missouri visited the World War Two memorial. It was the first time for many and emotional for quite a few.
"Brings back some good memories and bad memories," said Charles Springstube, a World War II veteran who served in the Navy. "(The bad memories are) people who get slaughtered on both sides of the continent."
For those who were in Europe during the war, it was 68 years ago today, when 160,000 men stormed the beaches of Normandy, France.
"My outfit was involved in Omaha Beach, but I was in the hospital that day, and I didn't make the beach," explained Forrest Easley, a World War II veteran who from Springfield, Missouri.
Easley, who served in the army as a private first class, remembers thinking about his friends on D-Day when allied forces liberated France from Nazi Germany in 1944.
"A lot of my guys were lost there, so it makes me wonder, why I'm here and they're there," said Easley.
Studies show that we're losing 900 to 1,000 veterans a day. World War II veterans are becoming even more rare, but their sacrifice not forgotten as they ask fellow Americans to carry on their legacy.
"It's your turn now," Easley said. "We did ours. It's up to you to protect that flag."
Veterans came to DC through the Honor Flight Network, a national program that secures donations and sponsors to help fully pay for their trips. Many of the World War II veterans are in their 80s and 90s. It is most likely their last and only chance to see how the nations capital is paying tribute to them.
Ford Motor company also sponsored two flights for about 75 World War Two veterans from Michigan and Kentucky. Ford also announced Wednesday it is giving $200,000 to the Disabled American Veterans Transportation Network to purchase eight vehicles.
By Anny Hong, 9News Now & WUSA9.com