Local Vets Honor Fallen Friends

By: Tim Elliott Email
By: Tim Elliott Email

This past weekend, local World War II veterans traveled from the wiregrass to Washington, D.C for the day; taking in the sights and sounds of our nation's capitol.

It was also a day dedicated to them.

It was a very long day for these veterans, but they all say it's a day they'll never forget.

A surprise attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii prompted the United States to officially enter World War II. And many wiregrass men and women answered the call of duty.

“This was just after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor so that's when I enlisted, most of the guys I went to school with felt the same way,” said World War II veteran Bill Carpenter.

“I was just a young kid and Uncle Sam said ‘you're in’ and I was in,” said World War II Dick Schoof.

After four years of fighting, the war finally came to an end on September 2, 1945.

Almost 65 years later, those men and women were recognized for their service and sacrifice.

“The significance at the time eluded us young people at the time,” added Schoof.

“They did the things many of the younger generation won't do today,” said Bob Bunting who’s on the Wiregrass Honor Flight board of directors.

After touring the World War II memorial on Saturday, local veterans paid a visit and their respects to their fallen friends.

“These guys were good at what they did, we had to be good, and they had to be good, on the submarine. I’m not so sure I was but they were they were all so good and they were just common ordinary people,” said World War II veteran Tom Curry.
In Arlington National Cemetery, more than 300,000 people are buried here. Local veterans say its sights like this that makes this trip worthwhile.

“Oh, I have thought about it for a little bit I’m not sure I can describe it,” said Curry.

“The guys that went to win the war are the real heroes,” said World War II veteran Jesse Sharpe.

At the Tomb of the Unknowns, veterans took a moment to remember those who didn't make it home. They say a World War II veteran is a special kind of person.

“And I know, what we did helped to make things like they are presently, America is safe,” said World War II veteran Wallace L. Smith.

Members of the greatest generation arrived home late Saturday night to a hero's welcome.

For many, it was past their bed time, but didn't stop people from showing their appreciation.

“It makes me feel that America is still going to be safe...and I have a feeling that it's going to be alright,” added Smith.

Every veteran News 4 spoke with on Saturday pointed out the hard work by the Wiregrass Honor Flight board of directors.

They all mentioned how well-planned and organized the event was, so a big thanks goes out to them as well.

The World War II memorial in Washington D.C. opened to the public on April 29, 2004.


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