CASTLE PINES, Colo. — Colorado said goodbye to a World War II veteran today with a procession all throughout the state and into Kansas and Nebraska. Donald Stratton was one of the three living survivors of the attack on the USS Arizona in Pearl Harbor. He was 97 years old when he died two weeks ago.
"It is emotional," said Mike Watson, a member of the patriot guard with the American Legion. "It’s like my helmet is filling up with tears. You get so emotional."
Thousands stood on overpasses and the side of the highway as the procession made its way through the state.
"To be one of the 344 survivors after the USS Arizona is attacked in Pearl Harbor and come back and continue to serve your country, how many people can say that in their lifetime. That is the ultimate," said Mikel Burroughs, a member of the American Legion. "I wouldn’t miss this for anything because we’re all warriors. Donald Stratton was a warrior. It comes down to respect always and warriors forever."
Many stopped by as they were driving to pay a final respect.
"As a Navy diver, though I didn’t know him, I know our heritage very well. I know him in that sense," said Martin Oliver, a Navy veteran himself. "He’s part of a heritage. He’s definitely part of a generation that makes this country as great as it is today."
The procession snaked all the way through Colorado and into Kansas and Nebraska. It started at noon and wrapped up late Saturday evening.
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