A hero's welcome was rolled out for a group of men who proudly served the U.S. nearly 70 years ago.
Thursday, scores of veterans from Northwest Louisiana and Northeast Texas flooded the nation's capitol.
Dick Whittington of Shreveport was one of them.
He gets choked up when he talks about his oldest brother, Pat, a bomber pilot who died in World War II. Pat is one of the reasons Whittington wanted to go on the heroes flight to see the war memorials in Washington D.C.
"He was killed in Italy or somewhere over there on April 12th. That's the same day President Roosevelt died," Whittington said of his brother.
The other reason - Whittington also served in World War II aboard the U.S.S. Hughs Destroyer in the South Pacific before he was old enough to drive.
One morning while his destroyer was escorting the Liskum Bay - a smaller destroyer, a Japanese submarine attacked.
"All of a sudden I saw this huge ball of flame go up, and the Liskum Bay got hit with a torpedo," he said.
Whittington jumped into action and helped pull in survivors using a rope ladder.
"Me and another guy were hanging off there and occasionally having to go in the water to get somebody who couldn't get back up there," he said. "A lot of them they were burned."
After learning of his brother's death, Whittington secured an early release to return home to Shreveport.
And here, he made local headlines as a 16-year-old veteran of World War II. The teen that had seen the world, took part in a war that shaped the world, and defended his country was quoted as saying, "I figured it was time to get back to school and learn something"
Editor's Note: This is part one of a three-part series. Coverage continues Friday at noon.
Copyright 2014 KSLA. All rights reserved.