A Vermont man's love of history and country have led him to take a special trip this week, which he's calling a true honor.
"This is a bucket list item that came early," said Marty Irons, a pharmacist at Beauchamp & O'Rourke Pharmacy in Rutland, who is heading to Hawaii to attend commemoration services this weekend at Pearl Harbor.
When he's not filling prescriptions, Irons is a hobbyist historian, who was invited to attend services at Pearl Harbor.
This weekend marks the 78th anniversary of the sneak attack by Japanese forces that killed more than 2,400 Americans and injured many more, spurring the U.S. to enter World War II.
"It forever changed this country," Irons said of the attacks of Dec. 7, 1941.
Irons interviewed as many veterans as he could for a book he wrote about the war in the Pacific. Titled "Phalanx Against the Divine Wind," the book project was dedicated to learning more about his late father-in-law's service to the Navy, and teaching readers about events of the war in a relatable way.
Those relationships with veterans are what led to the Pearl Harbor invite, Irons said.
"It's fun getting together and meeting these 93, 95, 100-year-old sailors," Irons told necn. "They're terrific guys."
Irons said he will be there for three memorial services, two of which are normally off-limits to members of the public, because they're on such hallowed ground at the base.
Irons said considering how quickly this country is losing its World War II vets, especially Pearl Harbor vets, marking the sacred anniversary with some of them will be an honor.
"We also want to remember that time that America came together, and I think probably even more than ever, this is the time to remember that," Irons said.
The pharmacist said he may well get material for his next book project, too.