Have you ever heard adults talk about the “Greatest Generation?” The words are used to describe Americans who were kids during the Great Depression in the 1920s and ’30s and young adults during World War II. These events were two of the most difficult times of the 20th century. The Greatest Generation might include your great-grandparents.

Many people in this generation served in the armed forces during World War II and other conflicts.

As these veterans have grown older, many have not had a chance to visit war memorials in Washington, D.C.

The Honor Flight Network, or HFN, was created to help America’s military veterans visit Washington free of charge, to spend time at the different memorials constructed in their honor, and to thank them for their service to our nation. Volunteers, veteran groups and various companies have helped the organization bring tens of thousands of veterans to our nation’s capital.

Saturday is Armed Forces Day. To celebrate, the Mini Page spoke with a volunteer for HFN and a veteran who participated in an honor flight to learn more about the group and its mission.

Recognizing our veterans

For many years after World War II, veterans didn’t talk much to other people about their war experiences. But eventually people started to recognize the work and sacrifices of the men and women who now serve in our military, along with those of people who had served in the past.

Americans wanted a monument to honor WWII veterans while they were still alive. Plans for a monument were approved by the end of the 1990s. Construction began in 2001, and in 2004, the National World War II Memorial was opened to the public. It is located on the National Mall between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.

The National World War II Memorial includes two pavilions, a granite pillar to represent each U.S. state and territory during the war, and a Rainbow Pool.

John Liebmann participated in a tour with the Badger Honor Flight group from Madison, Wis., in October 2012. Liebmann served in the Army Air Forces (which later became the Air Force) during World War II. He is shown visiting the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.