Over 1,500 men from Warren County enlisted in the U.S. Army during World War II.
On May 19, one of those men was honored with a trip to Washington, D.C. to see first-hand the nation's monuments to the armed forces.
Robert Lundberg, who now lives in New Smyrna Beach, Fla., sid he spent most of his 85 years in Warren County. Lundberg said he was born in Corry, but moved with his family first to Farmington Township and then to North Warren.
According to Lundberg, he enlisted the Army Air Corps Reserves while still a student at Warren High School in 1943. Lundberg said his enlistment was meant to ensure he finished high school with a diploma before going overseas. In 1945, just a week after he graduated, the Air Corps came calling.
"At that time, they were grasping," Lundberg said. "They needed people so bad they were taking them right out of high school."
Lundberg served in the Air Corps, which would later evolve into the Air Force, until November 947. Sixty-five years later, he was given the opportunity to visit the nation's monument to the efforts of "the 16 million who served in the armed forces of the U.S., the more than 400,000 who died, and all who supported the war effort from home".
This May, Lundberg was selected as one of 88 Volusia County, Fla., resident veterans of World War II to be flown to Washington for the ninth Volusia Honor Air Flight. Volusia provides free trips to view the memorial built in their honor in Washington to World War II veterans. The program is sponsored by the Rotary clubs of DeLand, Fla.
"That was one of the highlights of my life," Lundberg recalled. "It was a great, great experience. It brought back so many memories."
The group flew out of Daytona, Fla., and was greeted upon arrival in Washington by what Lundberg described as a large group of people. U.S. Reps. John Mica and Sandy Adams, who represent constituent in Volusia County, were on hand at the greeting and hosted the veterans for the day. The veterans were also treated to lunch by the congressmen.
Volusia Honor Air provided guardians who were available to see to the veterans needs. Each guardian accompanied one or two veterans.
Accompanied by the guardians, the veterans toured the World War II Memorial as well as other war memorials in Washington. Lundberg saw someone he never expected upon arriving at the World War II Memorial.
"My guardian, I had a guardian all to myself, had gotten in touch with my daughter," said Lundberg. "They planned it. My daughter and her cousin were at the World War II Memorial. They were able to spend about three hours with us at the memorial. I was bowled over."
The veterans were greeted by another crowd when they returned from viewing the monuments.
Upon returning to the Washington Airport after visiting all the monuments, Lundberg said, "We were surprised to see a big band playing music from our era."
Arrival back in Daytona saw another welcoming crowd and another pleasant surprise.
"My guardian's daughter, they has fashioned me a sign to welcome me home when I got there," Lundberg recalled.
"The opportunity for us to go and share our experiences as veterans is just a great experience," Lundberg said. "It was one full day of very pleasant surprises and it was difficult for me to comprehend all the well-wishers along the way. It was just a great experience all day."