It was December 7, 1941, when Japan attacked the United States at our Naval Base at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. The next day, December 8, 1941, the sleeping giant was awakened and the United States declared War on Japan and, in turn, its German allies. Until that moment, we'd avoided involvement in World War II.

The United States stepped into World War II 76-years-ago and 63-years later, in 2004, the National World War II Memorial was opened to the public in Washington, DC. Of the 16-thousand members of the military who fought in World War II, more than 400,000 were killed in battle and as of 2016, there were only an estimated 620,000 soldiers still alive.

One of the survivors is a man called "Pep" (a nickname his mother bestowed on him when he was just a boy) who was born and raised in Endicott and it was my honor to escort him as part of the Twin Tiers Honor Flight to see his memorial in Washington, DC on Sunday, November 12th.

This is just a small glimpse into Pep's visit to his memorial and of the respect he was shown by complete strangers.

The Twin Tiers Honor Flight is recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) charity and is registered with the charities bureaus of New York State (Registration: 44-32-54) and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania (Registration: 105768). Because the Twin Tiers Honor Flight is an all-volunteer organization, they operate solely on tax-deductible donations.

Through the generosity of donors, many of our veterans have been able to take a trip they wouldn't have otherwise been able to take to visit their memorials in Washington, DC and there are still so many veterans who would like to visit, but it won't be possible without additional funding.

If you'd like to learn more about the Twin Tiers Honor Flight, or if you'd like to make a donation so that our local veterans are able to visit Washington, you'll find all you're looking for right here.

[via Twin Tiers Honor Flight/National Parks Service]