TREA celebrates World War II veterans

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RAPID CITY, S.D. -

Veterans from across South Dakota gathered on Wednesday for the 4th Annual Free World War II Veterans Luncheon at The Retired Enlisted Association (TREA).

After honor flights were stopped in 2011, Bill Casper, with TREA, started Free World War II Veterans Luncheon to help give veterans the recognition they deserve. Casper says with World War II veterans dying at a rate of one every other week, veterans appreciate getting together and telling stories.

“Some of these guys that saw combat, when they get together with their peers, they know they are talking with someone that knows what they are talking about,” Casper said. “Some of these guys went through pure hell. You hear some of the stories that some of them tell and it is just amazing.”

READ MORE: Rapid City veteran awarded at City Council meeting

Two World War II veterans, Richard Lindenmeyer and Hillary Cole, say they are so happy to spend this time with their brothers in arms.

"It's absolutely a wonderful get together,” Lindenmeyer said. “We get to renew old friendships with a lot of good guys from World War II. It's just a happy, happy day for us."

Cole is happy to see everyone alive, walking around.

“A lot of them are walking around without a cane - I got a cane with me," Cole said.

Lindenmeyer laughed at that, saying, "We just carry these for looks."

The luncheon served more than 100 veterans, including South Dakota’s last two living Pearl Harbor survivors.

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