On May 23, I joined about 90 other WWII vets on the Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.
I was a Marine in 1945 and 1946 and saw no action or combat. But because of all the loving attention our vets received on this trip, I felt like a real hero.
We were greeted at the D.C. airport by a water cannon salute, a band and dozens of cheering, flag-waving people. Again, at the WWII Memorial, another large crowd, including small children, met us, waving flags and cheering us. We even had many teenagers, visiting the memorial on their school buses, go out of their way to walk right up to the vets to shake our hands and thank us for our service to our country.
Thanks to the sponsors of the Honor Flight, we were able to see the Iwo Jima Memorial, the Navy Memorial, the Tomb of the Unknown Solder at Arlington National Cemetery and hear many interesting stories from our tour guide about the Civil War action in D.C.
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The volunteers and our “guardians” did a fantastic job in taking care of us, including those in wheelchairs. They were wonderful..
On the airplane, just before we arrived at the Myrtle Beach airport, we had a “mail call.” Each of us received a large envelope with several letters from children in our local schools thanking us for our bravery and service. Many tears fell.
When we returned home to the Myrtle Beach airport, we received another salute and hundreds of people were there to wave more flags, cheer us and sing “God Bless America” with the band. We walked between two lines of people, including children and several motorcycle bikers, all of whom were sincere with their hand-shakes and thanks.
I thank God for giving me this opportunity to be on the Honor Flight with other WWII vets who were the real heroes of this war, along with all of those who died fighting for us. I thank God, too, for enabling us to win that war to preserve our freedom.
The writer lives in Murrells Inlet.
Editor’s note: The headline of this letter was suggested by Mr. Browe. In our book, however any Greatest Generation veteran who served in our military counts as a hero.