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Wish of a Lifetime, from AARP
A Veteran visits the WWII Bastogne Memorial

Rex follows in his father’s footsteps

Since he was young, Rex idolized his father for his commitment, bravery, and service as a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division.

To this day, the “Screaming Eagles” are known for their heroic defense of Bastogne, Belgium, during World War II in the Battle of the Bulge.

He inspired Rex to serve, who joined the Navy. Rex became a commissioned officer, gaining his own wartime experience as a Naval Aviator during the Gulf War.

Vintage photo of Ophelia's father in army circa 1942

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Ophelia smiles while standing by World War II Memorial

A father’s dream fulfilled

Through his father’s tales, Rex knew protecting Bastogne was among his proudest moments. His father dreamed experiencing Bastogne outside of wartime but never had the chance to do so.

At age 71, Rex fulfilled that dream. And amidst the forests of Bastogne, he found healing by retracing his father’s footsteps.

“I wake up at night and just think about our trip. It solved so many issues and clarified what it felt like. To see Bastogne honoring the Allies today is amazing.” 

 – Rex, age 71