A special summer day

World War II veteran Dick Donaldson holds a picture of him and his 12-member flight crew during World War II. Donaldson is the last surviving member of the crew. Photo / Per Peterson

Dick Donaldson’s July 23 trip to the 2021 Wings of the North Air Expo at Flying Cloud Airport was much more than an average sojourn.

Donaldson, a 98-year-old World War II veteran, flew out of Tracy to the event with Joe Latham, a fellow veteran who served in the Air Force in Vietnam. It was Donaldson’s third visit to the expo and perhaps his most poignant one.

“They have a whole bunch of veterans who talk to people — my message is that war is a futile way of solving things,” said Donaldson, who was able to meet up with the daughter of a couple who was killed during World War II.

“I happen to sit down at a table — I didn’t know anyone there — and this gal sat right next to me, with her husband on the other side, and I found out later her parents lived in Tokyo during World War II,” said Donaldson, who was part of the crew that flew over and bombed Tokyo.