Fairbanks welcome a WW2 hero home

Published: May. 6, 2019 at 4:50 PM AKDT
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A band played as people gathered at the airport Saturday evening to welcome a hero home.

Firmin Murakami, a World War II veteran was in Washington DC as part of the honor flight program that brings veterans to see the memorials of the wars they fought in. Murakami, now 91, was 18 when he joined the marines near the end of WW2.

Julie Jones, a board member for the Last Frontier Honor Flight says without the program veterans would never be able to see the their memorials.

"Honor Flight was started as a way to take WW2 veterans to visit their memorials in Washington D.C," Jones said.

Murakami was the only Fairbanksan of 23 Alaska Veterans to take part in the flight and one of four World War 2 veterans

As Murakami exited the elevator at the Fairbanks International Airport the crowd waiting for him cheered and clapped for his return.

Roy Barlow is the chapter treasurer for the Combat Vets Motorcycle Association in Fairbanks said they came to the airport to give him the welcome back that he deserved.

Murakami said he enjoyed the trip but he didn't deserve it and isn't a hero.

"And I said, you know, you should give it to somebody who deserves it more than I do, but they said I should go because I have never been to Arlington Cemetery and all that, but it was a wonderful wonderful trip and I really enjoyed it."

The Last Frontier Honor Flight holds two trips each year and veterans never have to pay. Anyone interested in taking a flight or signing up a family member can go to their

to apply.