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LOS ANGELES ( — Two elderly World War II veterans flew through the Los Angeles International Airport Friday morning on their way to a memorial ceremony at Iwo Jima in Japan.

United Airlines and the Transportation Security Administration held a send-off ceremony for the veterans — an 83-year-old from Tallahassee and 94-year-old from Carlsbad — who departed from LAX at 8:40 a.m.

The ceremony included a choir and color guard performance, as well as a water canon solute, which took place on the tarmac before the flight.

The Iwo Jima site in Japan is only open once a year for memorial services attended by both U.S. and Japanese veterans, officials and guests.

“For some of these veterans who are going back for the first time, it’s a very emotional experience, but we go for the single purpose of honoring the dead on both sides,” General Lawrence F. Snowden said.


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