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Monday, April 12th, 2010 -- 10:58 AM

An area World War II veteran is looking forward to a trip to Washington D.C. later this month.

88-year-old Robert Luchterhand of Granton will be among 103 World War II veterans flown to the Capitol as part of a the Never Forgotten Honor Flight program.

The committee recently raised nearly $90,000 for a charter flight that will take the vets to visit their conflict's memorial. That flight will depart from the Central Wisconsin Airport on April 27 and return later that evening.

Luchterhand was in Europe from 1942 to 1945. He fought in the Battle of the Bulge and the D-Day Invasion of Normandy.

"I was right in that," he remembers. "We went in on those little boats that the ends flopped down on and we waded in to shore."

Of course, that was one of the bloodiest battles in history. Luchterhand was a member of the 3rd Army. It?s estimated that over 5,000 Allied soldiers died in that invasion. It took him awhile to get over his experiences.

"It took awhile. Every time I heard an airplane, I started ducking," he says.

Luchterhand has traveled back to France to see Normandy Beach.

"I saw where we landed. I saw the cemetery up on the hill. My gosh, it was so huge. So many people buried up on the hill," he recalls.

But Luchterhand has never been to Washington D.C. to see the World War II Memorial, and he?s really looking forward to it. The Never Forgotten Honor Flight serves a 19-county region that includes Clark, Marathon and Wood counties.

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