Harold Plunkett knows time is precious.
The 88-year-old Brazil native had never visited the World War II memorial site in Washington, D.C.
Thanks to the program Honor Flight, Plunkett made the trek to the nation's capitol earlier this month.
"I know I would have never seen it," Plunkett told The Brazil Times. "If it hadn't been for this program, I'd have never gone. I couldn't afford it."
Plunkett was one of 25 World War II veterans who traveled to Washington, D.C., July 9-11, to see the memorial in addition to other sites.
According to Plunkett, Honor Flight began in 2004 when a man from Columbus, Ohio, who owned a smaller airplane, flew to Washington, D.C., to see the museum.
"He felt in his heart that every World War II veteran should see it, if they so desired," Plunkett said.
Plunkett said the man, Earl Morse, a retired Air Force Captain, took it upon himself to set up a network to help veterans travel to the capitol to see the site.
Through one flight, Morse met a woman who was burying her son at Arlington National Cemetery. She provided a donation to help transport veterans to the site.
Just a few years ago, Plunkett said Southwest Airlines also agreed to fly World War II veterans through the organization to the capitol free of charge in order to see the site.
Plunkett said in 2005, he received notification through the mail about the program. He immediately filled out the application.
"It was five years before they got to my name," Plunkett said.
Veterans who make the trip are required to take a guardian with them. Plunkett brought his grandson, Jordan Brown.
All veterans taking advantage of the opportunity receive free accommodations while in Washington, D.C. The guardians have to pay $350 for transportation, lodging, food and more.
While there, Plunkett said he also had the chance to visit the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, the White House, the Air Force Museum, the Naval Museum and the Pentagon, among other sites.
He also had an opportunity to see the changing of the guard at Arlington National Cemetery.
"That's something everybody ought to see," Plunkett said. "The Sergeant comes out and says, 'We will have total silence.' And he got it, but the birds just kept on singing."
While there, Plunkett said the Daughters of the American Revolution organization also conducted a conference.
He said six women from the organization offered hugs and kisses to each of the 25 World War II veterans on the trip.
"That was a highlight," Plunkett said.
He also took a book of photographs he took himself during World War II.
"They all flocked around to see my pictures," Plunkett said.
He added all veterans should take advantage of the opportunity to see the memorials.
"It was wonderful," he said. "I can't explain it. It was just a wonderful trip."
Veterans interested in taking the trip should log on to www.honorflight.org. From there, click on the application link, or contact Clay County Veterans Affairs Officer Mike Holland at 448-9015, Monday-Wednesday.