SPRINGFIELD, IL (KFVS) - Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner welcomed one of the oldest surviving WWII veterans to the state capitol on July 3.
WWII veteran Sidney Walton is advancing his "National No Regrets Tour" to raise awareness of the vanishing number of WWII veterans.
"It's a privilege to meet Sidney Walton, one of the many brave heroes who helped keep us free," said Rauner, who arranged for Walton to have the first luncheon in the dining room of the newly renovated Governor's mansion. "The work Mr. Walton is doing to raise awareness about what the greatest generation did to save the world for democracy during WWII is incredible."
Walton and his son, Paul, are traveling the nation to visit all fifty governors in their state capitols and ending at the white house on Feb. 11, 2019, Walton's 100th birthday. Gov. Rauner is the eleventh governor to welcome them.
This tour began in April to make up for a life-long regret of Walton of missing an opportunity to meet the last-surviving Civil War veterans in New York City in 1941. He is using the tour to give as many people as he can a chance to speak with a WWII veteran while they still can.
"In this moment when the country has been so divisive, this is the one thing that unites Democrats and Republicans alike," said Paul. "They revere a person who saved both the country and the world. It makes us feel like we have a national treasure."
In addition to the Governor's Mansion, the Waltons visited the Lincoln Tomb Memorial, the War Memorials at Oak Bridge, and toured the Lincoln Home.
"We are the home of the free because of brave men and women like Sidney who put it all on the line to protect our way of life. It was inspiring to hear his stories of the sacrifices he and his band of brothers made to protect and defend our freedom," said Rauner.
Since beginning this one-year journey, Walton has been welcomed by governors in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Indiana, Nebraska, Tennessee, and Kentucky.