World War II veterans honored by Hanks, Spielberg

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About 250 veterans visited the National World War II Memorial for the first time Thursday and were honored by producers Tom Hanks and Stephen Spielberg in advance of their new HBO series, "The Pacific."

The 10-part miniseries, which airs on HBO beginning Sunday, is a fictional tale that documents the lives of three Marines as they fight their way from Guadalcanal to Okinawa.

The Honor Flight Network, a non-profit organization that sponsors cost-free flights for veterans to visit the memorial, partnered with HBO, American Airlines, and Marriott Hotels and Resorts to fund the trip for the veterans in conjunction with a special viewing of "The Pacific."

Many of the veterans served in the Pacific World War II theater.

"I was really pleased. This is unbelievable ... outstanding," said retired Air Force pilot and World War II veteran Richard Watkins, 83, of Orlando, Fla., of being asked to participate in the event....

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