Published: May 16, 2013 3:54 PM EDT
Updated: May 16, 2013 5:54 PM EDT

CAPE CORAL, Fla.- A veterans group called The Destroyers is dissolving after its meeting Thursday in Cape Coral. Most of the members are veterans of destroyer ships in World War II.

"It is very sad. I have had such good times with this group and these men over the years," says Robert Hemenway, age 88.

"The problem is we are dying off. We lose eight to 10 members a month in this area alone. The others are often too ill or infirm to travel to meetings. So, we have to close. It's like the leaves on the trees. They dimish and fall," adds Hemenway.

The group has been meeting locally for 21 years. Many of the veterans say they will try to stay in touch informally in the future.

"It is a loss. Reminds me of losing my first ship in the war," said Sal Rizzo, as he choked back tears. 

"I will miss the guys, and the great feelings of patriotism we still hold. I get very excited seeing the flag go by. That's just the way we are," said Paul Heffelfinger, another destroyer veteran of World War II.