World War II veteran Peter Richter of Freeport visited Washington, D.C., when his family was young, but hadn’t been back since – until last weekend.

That means Richter, who enlisted in the U.S. Navy at the age of 17, had never seen the National World War II Memorial, which opened in 2004 on the National Mall.

Richter, 91, finally got his chance through Honor Flight, a program conducted by nonprofit organizataions dedicated to taking as many U.S. veterans as possible to see the memorials of the respective war(s) they fought, at no cost to the veterans.

He and his daughter, Anne Richter, left from Portland last Friday and returned Sunday from a trip that took them to many of the great monuments and other sites dear to members of the armed services in the nation’s capital.

Richter, a member of J. Arthur Stowell American Legion Post 83 from Freeport-Pownal, who lives on property his mother owned on Flying Point, said before leaving that he was eager s to see all the sights in D.C.

“It’s going to be a real treat to get down there,” he said.. “I’ve never seen the World War II Monument. I lost my buddy, Robert Rachofsky, in World War II. He was fighting in France.”

Anne Richter said that Joyce Veilleux, commander of Legion Post 83, helped her sign up her father for the Honor Flight in the spring.

“He was on a waiting list and somebody couldn’t go. Priority is given to the oldest veterans,” she said. “He’s really looking forward to it. He just found out (two weeks ago). He’s so honored to go on this trip to see the World War II Memorial. They’re going to see all the memorials.”

Consisting of 56 pillars and a pair of small triumphal arches surrounding a plaza and fountain, the National World War II Memorial sits on the former site of the Rainbow Pool at the eastern end of the Reflecting Pool, between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument.

Richter grew up in New York, but his family vacationed in Yarmouth as far back as the late 1800s. He studied electrical engineering for one year at the University of Maine, and when he elisted in the Navy, he was sent to continue his studies at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York. Then he attended midshipmen school and trained on the Great White Fleet in New York Harbor.

The war ended by the time Richter was assigned to a transport troop, sent to Japan to bring the troops back home. He had started as a communications officer, and then became a navigator.

Later, he obtained an MBA from Columbia University, and found work as an engineer. He and his wife, Jane, who died two years ago, raised four children. They moved to Freeport in 1992. Today, daughter Katherine Hall, who lives in Orr’s Island, keeps a good eye on him.

“I get around reasonably well,” Richter said.

Peter Richter, a World War II veteran from Freeport, smiles as he talks with people last Saturday during his Honor Flight visit to Washington, D.C.

 

Joyce Veilleux, left, past American Legion Post 83 commander, meets with Freeport World War II veteran Peter Richter and his daughter Anne Richter on Sunday at the Portland International Jetport as they return from Peter Richter’s Honor Flight trip to Washington, D.C.

Peter Richter of Freeport left, stands with fellow Maine veterans Edmund Theriault and Paul Marshall in front of the National World War II Memorial last Saturday.

Peter Richter of Freeport, 11th from left, is among the World War II veterans who visited the National World War II Memorial last Saturday during an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.


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