COLORADO SPRINGS — 11 World War II heroes took time out of their day Saturday to share their stories to anyone who wanted to hear them at the National Museum of World War II Aviation as part of an event put on by Southern Colorado Honor Flight.
After walking this earth for nearly a century, World War II veteran Nick Kneebone doesn’t owe anyone his time.
“In a year and five months I’ll be a hundred,” Kneebone said.
Yet there he was Saturday, sharing his life story.
“I was raised in a little town in South Dakota, along the Big Sioux River,” he said.
So was World War II veteran Cole Griego.
“I Spent my childhood in New Mexico,” Griego said.
He was reminiscing about that time he helped shape history.
Griego, an Army medic, was standing just feet away as American soldiers iconically raised the American flag at the battle of Iwo Jima.
“That was the best thing that ever happened in my life,” he said.
So why tell his story?
“It was hell in a hat, but we made it through and came home,” Griego said.
Why tell Kneebone’s story?
“I just was looking for adventure I guess,” Kneebone said.
--His story of how--right as his ship left Pearl Harbor--the bomb was dropped.
“We were heading for Manila to relive troops there,” Kneebone said.
Why? Because their stories are living history lessons.
“If it wasn’t for the Japanese attacking us at Pearl Harbor, we’d all be sprechen sie deutsch,” Kneebone said.
“A lot of my buddies got killed,” Griego said.
And because, almost 80 years later, the wounds still feel fresh.
“The more I think about them, the harder it gets to think about them,” Griego said.