At 95 years old, Herbert St. Romain never thought he would make it to Washington DC to see the National World War II memorial. Finally, the Alexandria, Louisiana native had the opportunity to see the memorials honoring him and his fallen comrades.
The National World War II Memorial honors the 16 million Americans who served in the US Armed Forces. It was a surreal experience for St. Romain who had served in the Louisiana Army National Guard before being deployed for active duty in Europe. He is the only living member of his group, so his trip to the monument was exceptionally emotional, with his eyes filling with tears on occasion. His son Paul said, “He was thinking about some of his buddies, some of the fellows who just aren’t here, the fellows back home who passed away and never got to see those acknowledgments.”
St. Romain came to Washington for the first time in 60 years as part of a trip sponsored by Honor Flight, a group which helps bring vets to Washington to see the monuments in their honor. His trip included veterans from World War II, Vietnam, and Korea. Three terminally vets even made the trip.
Although he was the oldest of the crew, St. Romain was full of life as he shared his war stories of being stationed in Belgium and England. One story of note included his time as a clerk for a hospital group while medics treated the wounded soldiers from D-Day and the Battle of the Bulge.
Standing next to the Louisiana memorial pillar, St. Romain said, “It’s truly great to see the monument and how well it’s done – as a tribute to those people, the men, and women of WWII. Even in my generation, people didn’t fully appreciate the impact and the sacrifices that the WWII generation made.”