Gov. Bruce Rauner welcomed WWII veteran Sidney Walton to the state capitol recently, helping the 99-year-old advance his “National No Regrets Tour” to raise awareness of the vanishing number of WWII veterans. Walton is one of the country’s oldest surviving 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.”
Through the “National No Regrets Tour,” Walton and his son Paul are traveling the nation to visit all 50 governors in their state capitols. The father son duo plans to have the tour culminate at the White House on February 11, 2019, Sidney’s 100th birthday. Gov. Rauner is the eleventh governor to welcome them.
Walton embarked on the tour in April to make up for a life-long regret of missing the opportunity to meet a few of the last surviving Civil War veterans in New York City in 1941, the year he joined the Army. He is using the tour to give as many people as he can the 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.