Decades after he served as a pilot in the Vietnam War, an Atascadero veteran is still flying in honor of his fellow servicemen and women.
"Veterans Day is a very important day for me because I get to fly over different services," George Marrett said.
Marrett will buckle in Monday and fly over the Veterans Memorial in Atascadero during the ceremony.
About 50 years after he served this country as a pilot during the Vietnam War, the thrill and the dedication Marrett feels behind the control wheel has never faded.
"It's not near as complicated as the jets I flew, it's not as complicated as going to war in an airplane," Marrett said. "But the same feeling comes back."
As a Sandy Rescue pilot in Thailand, Marrett completed 188 combat missions.
"I lost 12 pilots during my year of combat," Marrett said.
The deaths of those comrades remain on Marrett's mind as he flies with the Estrella War Birds and even completes special memorial flights for lost soldiers.
"I'm so pleased I have the ability to fly at my age and have a useful purpose for flying," Marrett said.
On a Friday morning, as he visited the Veterans Memorial in Atascadero, Marrett got to share his experience in a different way.
A group of second grade students was there to learn about the history of Veterans Day and Marrett got to share his story with the children.
"This was our first time having a presentation from an actual veteran and they were so excited to hear the story," Shaina Furnis-Lawrence, a teacher at the Santa Rosa Academic Academy, said. "I think some of them are excited to be pilots, maybe."
Marrett has a particular soft spot for these 6 and 7-year-old students.
"I knew what I wanted to be when I was 6 years old," Marrett said. "I asked how many of them wanted to be pilots and I had a lot of hands go up."
He not only wanted the kids to understand what it means to serve this country but about the sacrifice made by others before them.
"It's important that the men and women who have sacrificed their lives for this country, that that be remembered," Marrett said.