Veterans honor WWII with visit memorial in DC - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Veterans honor WWII with visit memorial in DC

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - About 90 World War II veterans are probably still resting after an eventful weekend. They took the first Honor Flight in the Midlands, which is a trip to the World War II Memorial in Washington DC.

Viewer Dianne Watson e-mailed us about her dad's trip. She says, "He has been so excited about being chosen to go on this trip and was not disappointed. At almost 85-years-old, it is a memory that he will cherish the rest of his life."

The send off the veterans received in Columbia was nothing like the way they went to war more than 60 years ago.

Bill Dukes, head of the Midlands chapter of Honor Flight SC, said, "They haven't been treated like this in their entire life."

Back when the vets first left for war, there was no music, fanfare, or even smiles to say goodbye to them.

Veteran Mary Crumb remembers.

"A lot of people I knew aren't here anymore," Crumb said.

This trip is an effort to honor the sacrifices of those veterans.

On the flight, first class extended to the back of the plane.

The veterans watched out their windows at a water cannon salute -- the highest honor set aside for only the most important travelers.

Back in Washington, they arrived to a hero's welcome, where even the youngest Americans thanked veterans like Solomon Bright for their freedom.

The chaos of traveling ends at the World War II Memorial, where the calm waters inside helped to ease the painful memories from war.

Bill Donahue was in the Navy when he went off to war.

"Things that we lived through, you wouldn't believe if you could," Donahue said.

He came with his buddy, KC Moore, a D-Day veteran.

"After that length of time, you get real close to a lot of people. I lost a lot of good friends over there," Moore said.

Others met family members, like Solomon Bright and David Hubbard.

Karen Morris came from Texas to visit her father, David, who made the trip from South Carolina.

"To experience this with him and the other guys of this generation I think is a learning experience and so precious to spend the day with him," Morris said.

Solomon's brother, Joseph Bright, also came to the memorial to spend time with him.

"It's something that only comes around once in a lifetime. I'm glad he lived long enough to see it," Joseph said.

The trip is free for veterans and paid for by donations. More flights are planned for the spring.

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Reported by Ben Hoover

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