SAN DIEGO — There were five World War II veterans at Pearl Harbor for the 80th anniversary Tuesday. They were there to reflect and remind us to never forget December 7, 1941.
It was a day of remembrance for World War II veterans commemorating the 80th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor.
Among the WWII veterans is 96-year-old Paramarine 3rd Marine Airwing veteran Manuel "Manny” Flores.
“I had to forge my birth certificate at 17-and-a-half. They didn't catch it until I finished jump school and they gave me new papers,” said Flores.
He was among the five World War II veterans from San Diego who are a part of the Best Defense Foundation who flew 64 veterans to Pearl Harbor for the anniversary.
The Solana Beach nonprofit started by former NFL linebacker who played for the Chargers, Donnie Edwards, provides honorable experiences for veterans to return to the battlefield.
“We are truly honored to be able to do this through Best Defense Foundation,” said Edwards.
The oldest veteran on the Pearl Harbor trip was 104 years old.
“I’m only 96 years old, I thought I was the oldest, but I found out there are a lot who are older than me,” said Flores.
No matter their age, the memory of the 2,400 United States military and civilians killed during the attack will never be forgotten.
Flores' unit was assigned to the USS Ulysses S. Grant in Okinawa.
This is the first time Flores had been back to Pearl Harbor. He was there when the war ended.
“It's once in a lifetime," he said. "It's one of the happiest times in my life next to my marriage."
A memory filled with deep pride for our country and America's heroes.
“I'll remember this until they put me in a box,” said Flores.
The Best Defense Foundation flew the veterans to Hawaii on December 3 and visited several memorial sites on the island.
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