President Donald Trump made a promise to 94-year-old Sgt. Allen Jones after inviting him up on stage at an event hosted by the Kansas City Veterans of Foreign Wars in July 2018.
Having made the long trip from Pennsylvania just to be present at the event, the 2015-16 VFW Chief of Staff said, “Mr. President, I want to ask you something.”
“I’m going to be 95 years of age on April 11 of next year,” Jones told Trump, “Hopefully, you will allow me to bring my family into the Oval Office to meet you.”
The president was quick to agree.
On Thursday afternoon, Trump made good on his promise by hosting Jones and three other distinguished World War II veterans in the Oval Office to celebrate the serviceman’s 95th birthday.
“Beautiful afternoon in the Oval Office today with a few great American HEROES!” Trump said in a tweet featuring a clip of his original interaction with Jones, as well as video from his time with the veterans and their families on Thursday.
Beautiful afternoon in the Oval Office today with a few great American HEROES! pic.twitter.com/HYEI83NVrm
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 11, 2019
Alongside Jones were Floyd Wigfield, Sidney Walton and Paul Kriner — each over the age of 100.
According to The Virginian-Pilot, 101-year-old Wigfield was, like Jones, lucky enough to also be granted a presidential promise. He has requested to ride on Air Force One this June following the 75th-anniversary celebration of the successful Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944.
“We’ll work that out,” Trump said, adding, “You’ll like Air Force One.”
The president also expressed gratitude to the men for their service and bravery, referring to their day as one in which America “knew how to win wars” and lauding them and their peers as “great heroes, great warriors, highly respected.”
As of 2018, as few as 496,777 of the 16 million American veterans of the Second World War are still alive, with more than 370 passing away each day, according to the National WWII Museum.
Veterans like Kriner, Wigfield and Walton have made it their personal mission in recent years to travel the country informing Americans about the struggles, sacrifices and victories of the WWII generation.
Kriner and Wigfield do so in partnership with the Greatest Generations Foundation — a non-governmental organization “dedicated to acknowledging the sacrifices of veterans by sponsoring their return to visit former battlegrounds, cemeteries, and memorials to ensure that their legacies are recorded and retold in perpetuity to future generations.”
Meanwhile, Walton is on what he calls the “National No Regrets Tour” on which he intends to visit every state and raise awareness of the “diminishing number of WWII veterans” in the United States.
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