Sadly, many veterans never have the opportunity to see our nation’s memorials in Washington, D.C., in honor of their bravery and service to our country.

PPLVets, a PPL business resource group, along with the Lehigh Valley History Project and Sand’s Casino, is changing that.

For the past six years, PPLVets and its partners have co-sponsored an October bus trip to the U.S. Capitol for veterans to connect and visit the war memorials. Recently, 41 veterans, including four from PPL, made the trip to Washington. The group consisted of veterans from World War II and those who served in the Korean, Vietnam, Persian Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan wars.

“There are several WWII veterans who have not had a chance to see our nation’s memorials,” said Anthony Pearson, president of PPLVets, and a veteran. “In addition to experiencing those memorials, there are also several vets who have never had the chance to meet with and bond with WWII veterans. This trip provides an opportunity to bridge that gap. I am proud to play a small role in making this trip possible for our valued veterans.”

Highlights in Washington, D.C., included the U.S. Navy Memorial, Korean War Memorial, the WWII Memorial, Vietnam Wall and Lincoln Memorial. Each veteran received a commemorative T-shirt and was treated to lunch and dinner.

For PPLVets Executive Sponsor and veteran Dennis Knepper this trip was an opportunity to see first-hand the impact this trip has on our veterans. “What stood out for me was the respect the veterans got from the other tourists who happened to be at the memorials with their families. I saw quite a few of the veterans, especially the WWII veterans, being stopped by total strangers and asked to tell their stories and have their photos taken,” said Knepper.

As the WWII veterans entered through the main entrance of the memorial, tourists formed an impromptu receiving line and applauded them, shaking the veterans’ hands as they walked into the memorial grounds. “It was very moving to see that kind of heartfelt gratitude from total strangers. It is something I will also remember,” said Knepper.