Wiregrass Honor Flight: Part Two

By: Rayne McKenzie Email
By: Rayne McKenzie Email

Eighty-nine veterans were treated to a free trip to Washington D.C. to tour the city and visit the World War II Memorial.

Raymond Rousseau and his Honor Flight Guardian Allen Nobles met Saturday morning for the adventure of a lifetime.

They accompanied one another through some of the most memorable sites and memorials in Washington D.C.

Mr. Rousseau, like most of the veterans on the trip, was thrilled to have the opportunity to tour many of the sites.

WWII Veteran Raymond Rousseau said, “It's the first time I've been to something like this and it's something that kind of tugs at my heart, to see all these veterans here. I know they've all been through an awful lot; it's quite interesting to see the whole thing and the way we are treated. "

The trip's first stop was at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier where veterans had the chance to see first hand the Changing of the Guards.

Wheelchairs lined the grounds as veterans watched silently.

Rousseau continued, "It's an amazing site to see and I appreciate this trip. I didn't think I'd appreciate it as much as I do, but it's something to see, I'd recommend it to anybody."

The veterans were then off to experience the highlight of the trip, the World War II Memorial.

Every veteran on the Wiregrass Honor Flight is treated to a special experience; however, on this third Wiregrass Honor Flight Mr. Rousseau was only one of four chosen to participate in one very special event.

Rousseau represented the Merchant Marines during the wreath laying ceremony at the Alabama Pillar.

His guardian stood by proudly.

Rousseau's Guardian Allen Nobles said, “I've learned so much from here. What he's done for us, what he's doing now and what his aspirations are. He's a wonderful guy."

Just a few hours later, the veterans and their guardians were unloading the plane in Dothan.

"What a surprise visit over here with all these soldiers," Rousseau said.

Rousseau made his way down the aisle, allowing members of the community to thank him for serving.

His children and grandchildren were waiting with open arms to take him home.

However, it was his wife who raced across the street, throwing her walker aside that brought the brightest smile to his face.

Finally, he received the heroes welcome home, he deserved.

The last Wiregrass Honor Flight is taking place next Saturday.

News 4 will be on the flight and bring you stories from that trip next week.


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