WWII Vets Mixed on War in Iraq

By Tom Sherwood
|  Thursday, Aug 19, 2010  |  Updated 7:37 PM EDT
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World War II veterans in D.C. Thursday reacted to news of <a title=U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq." />

World War II veterans in D.C. Thursday reacted to news of U.S. troop withdrawal from Iraq.

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Iraq Pullout Divides DC Tourists, Locals

Visitors to the Vietnam Memorial reacted with mixed feelings about the U.S. combat troops pulling out of Iraq.
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In Washington, we have a unique chance to sample opinions from Americans who come from all over the country. All you have to do is go down to the National Mall and linger for a bit. You'll meet people from all over this country.

NBC4's cameras went to both the Vietnam Memorial and the World War II Memorial on Thursday to hear what people think of the U.S. pulling out its last combat troops in Iraq.

One 90-year-old veteran of World War II, visiting with a group from Iowa, was ready to fight on.

"I had a lot of combat in World War II and I would not hesitate if I was young enough to go again," he said defiantly. "I wholeheartedly favor the Iraq situation and Afghanistan 'cause I'm a hawk and I feel that we've got to win these things."

But some may be surprised that other hardened veterans strongly oppose the current wars and are glad some fighting servicemen are coming home.

"I think it was kind of a mistake, it was," said an 88-year-old who had piloted a B-25 plane in World War II.  "I'm glad they're getting out of there. Those people have been fighting for 2,000 years, and I think they'll still keep fighting."

Both of the veterans were part of a group of 300 World War II servicemen who had flown to Washington early Thursday morning on a 747. They landed at Dulles and took buses into the city to see the memorial that was built in their honor.  They were to return to Dulles Thursday evening to fly home.  A long day trip for them and their families and friends.

But seeing the memorial was a life's dream come true for some of them.

"Oh," said one 80-year-old Navy veteran. "It's wonderful. I've been waiting a long time to see this. It's great."

Several of the veterans said they wondered if there would a memorial to the men and women who are dying in Iraq and Afghanistan. 

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