By Danielle Chavira

DENVER (CBS4) – Six World War II veterans in Colorado were honored on Nov. 13 with a tribute performance at Mile Hi Veterans in Denver. The event featured food and music for veterans and their families.

One of the veterans honored, Don “Whip” Whipple, recently spoke with CBS4 This Morning Anchor Michelle Griego about his service. The 96-year old former Marine in Westminster spent 36 days on the island of Iwo Jima and witnessed the historic raising of the American flag on Feb. 23, 1945.

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Don Whipple

(credit: CBS)

Whipple was tasked with directing artillery fire and he was quickly told to head to Mt Suribachi to be a lookout.

“He said ‘We’re getting pretty close to the top, they’re looking for something to put the flag on,'” Whipple said. “A moment or two later they said ‘Well they got the flag tied on and they’re getting ready to raise it in a minute. In fact there it goes.’ I just watched them raise it up and it was the thrill of my life.”

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(credit: CBS)

Whipple hopes the price his friends and others paid for this country is never forgotten.

“We have with us today some truly terrific and heroic people,” said Ricardo Lafore, event spokesman.

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CBS4’s Michelle Griego helped host the event.

Danielle Chavira