202

Aging vets now able to visit war memorials through virtual reality

The Honor Everywhere 360 virtual reality equipment lets veterans see the monuments in Washington even if they can't get there. (Honor Everywhere 360 via YouTube)

WASHINGTON — Many of America’s aging veterans — especially those who served in World War II and Korea — are no longer able to travel to D.C. to see the memorials dedicated to their service. But now, thanks to virtual reality, the memorials are coming to them.

Honor Everywhere is a collaboration of several veterans groups. Its aim is to bring virtual-reality equipment to nursing homes, assisted living facilities and private homes. The vets who put on the high-tech headsets are transported to the nation’s capital as if they were there in person.

From the greetings at the airport to the bus ride into the city, the vets experience the World War II Memorial, the Iwo Jima Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery. Other short videos allow the veterans to visit the memorials dedicated to the Vietnam and Korean conflicts.

The experience is free; organizers say the vets are already paid up.

“You wrote out blank checks, payable up to and including your life,” said actor and veterans’ activist Gary Sinise in a welcome video. “Even if you can’t travel to see it in person, through the magic of virtual reality we’re going to take you there.”

Two virtual reality firms — Jaunt and Ghost Machine — are among the collaborators on Honor Everywhere. The Veterans United Foundation and Google are also involved.

Follow @WTOP on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

© 2016 WTOP. All Rights Reserved.