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WWII vet who was attacked takes Honor Flight to DC

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

World War II veteran Porter Cross will visit Washington, D.C., for the first time since he was discharged from the Navy 66 years ago.

"I'm glad to see all these old veterans," Cross said. He and 86 other World War II veterans are off to see the memorial built in honor of their service as this year's last Honor Flight Chicago trip to D.C.

Three months ago, Cross, was mugged in broad daylight. His wallet was stolen, his dentures and glasses were broken. Three young men were arrested.

"When they hit me on this side, I have a little trouble with this ear," Cross said.

Cross said overall he feels alright. His daughter says he has good days and bad. When he was roughly the age of his accused attackers, Cross was stationed on a South Pacific Island - a Navy supply base occasionally visited by enemy bombers.

"The only thing that was kind of scary a lot - when they come on bombing - get ready and jump in them foxholes," Cross said.

The life-and-death risk he survived, and the service he gave are what this day - this trip are meant to honor.

"I want him to be able to know the world appreciates him. Go and see what the United States has for him serving his country," Cynthia Steward-Jones, Porter's daughter, said.

Cross joins 3,900 World War II vets who - over the last five years - have made the Chicago Honor Flight to Washington DC. It is a long, emotion filled day.

"I feel alright. I feel like I can handle it," Cross said.

Many vets who have made the honor flight said the day is long, but therapeutic and rewarding beyond measure.

The three young men - two adults and a juvenile - charged with beating porter cross in late July remain in custody. A trial date has not yet been set.

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