WWII, Korean War vets too frail to visit memorials can now get virtual reality tours

WASHINGTON (CBS News) — Thousands of veterans of World War II and the Korean War have experienced Honor Flights, which brings vets from around the country to Washington, D.C. to see the memorials built in their honor.

Photo of Joseph Cook from when he served in WWII (Cook family/CBS News)
Photo of Joseph Cook from when he served in WWII (Cook family/CBS News)

But for veterans who are too frail to make the journey, there’s another solution – virtual reality is helping to bring the memorials to them.

Joseph Cook has seen a lot in his 92 years. The World War II veteran flew dangerous missions in the Army Air Corps ahead of the Battle of Okinawa.

“We had some scares up there,” Cook said.

More than 70 years have passed, but the memories haven’t faded for Cook.

“I think about the people who paid the real price. Boy I tell you, they’re real heroes,” he said.

Cook wanted to visit the National World War II memorial in Washington, D.C., but he’s not healthy enough to make the trip.

“It’s really sad in a way ’cause we as a nation waited far too long to build the World War II memorial and we’re losing our veterans at a rate of 500 a day nationwide, World War II veterans,” said Sarah Hill with Honor Everywhere.

Sarah Hill co-founded Honor Everywhere, which bring the memorials to ailing veterans through virtual reality.

“This is a way that they can feel like they were there,” she said.

Cook was able to finally see the monument in 3-D through virtual reality goggles.

Cook, along with his daughter and son, choked up over the virtual tour.

“This memorial is for him and to have him see that, and to see the expression on his face, I know it meant the world to him,” said Cook’s son, Joe.

It is a new way to salute aging war heroes.

“I’ll remember this the rest of my life,” Joseph Cook said.

This year on Veterans Day, the group will add a virtual reality tour of the Vietnam Wall to their programming. To learn more visit Honor Everywhere.

 

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