WW2 vets' last toast to fallen comrades is bittersweet

Ooh-Rah

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Luverne vets' last toast to fallen comrades is bittersweet

By the time Helmer “Haaky” Haakenson and LeRoy Luitjens finally cracked open the bottle of bourbon they had kept under lock and key for seven years, it had become a little bitter. The moment, however, was bittersweet.

Haakenson, 98, and Luitjens, 93, are all that remain of a blood-brothers group of World War II veterans who have gathered at the former Glen’s Bakery and Deli in Luverne, Minn., for years. When the group began meeting informally in 2010, there were 24 members. Each year, the group got a little smaller, and each year Haakenson and Luitjens were honorary pallbearers for their fallen friends.
 
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My cup of coffee is raised to these gentlemen. Here's to many years of reunions for these two!

It's still hard to believe there's so few WWII vets left among us.
 
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