Marilyn Bigelow is proud to be a World War II veteran. She was especially proud in September 2011, when she went on one of the first few Honor Flights out of Waterloo.
It was her first trip to Washington, D.C.
"It was all fabulous. Just fabulous," said Marilyn Bigelow.
Bigelow said she actually hesitated about going on the trip.
"I felt others were more deserving," she said.
But her husband's nephew, Dave Crandall, encouraged her to go and went along as her guardian. Crandall is also a veteran.
"I would encourage everyone to go if they can," said Marilyn Bigelow.
The 92-year-old was part of WAVES, or Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service. It was a division of the Navy consisting entirely of women.
A large proportion of the WAVES did clerical work, including Bigelow. She was 21 at the time and stationed at the University of Chicago working in transportation and payroll.
"The fellas (came) in for their pay, and the paymaster had his revolver right there. It was interesting," said Bigelow.
Bigelow served in the Navy for three years, three months and three days. When asked why she joined, she said so many others were serving she felt it was her duty to do the same.
She got out January 5, 1946. A week later, she married her husband, who also served in the Navy.
Bigelow still has the $90 diamond he bought her after winning a gambling game.
Bigelow and her husband moved back to eastern Iowa after their time in the service. He died in 1998. They had two daughters. One lives in Hawaii. The other was killed in a car accident during her junior year of college at Luther.
Bigelow said she can't thank those who help with the Honor Flights enough. She hopes all veterans get a chance to make the trip to D.C. Her message to us all is to respect our veterans.
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