Making a Difference: Honor Flight - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Making a Difference: Honor Flight

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It was an unexpected honor and an awe inspiring experience It was an unexpected honor and an awe inspiring experience
GULFPORT, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

There is a vanishing segment of our population who made a great deal of difference to us and this country and they are the veterans of world war two. Now people are coming together to make a difference in their lives.

The veterans are invited to go on an Honor Flight. That is a one-day trip to Washington DC To see the World War II monument, and to allow some people to thank them for what they did.  

It is officially called the Gulf Coast Honor Flight and originates from the Gulfport airport. Even before they get to the airport, before sunrise, a flashing sign on the roadway leading in thanks them.

Waiting to fly are about 80 veterans and their assigned guardians along with the Honor Flight volunteers. Honor Flights originate from all over the country, now.  

"It's an organization that honors our World War II veterans nation-wide by taking them on free, one-day trips to see the World War II Memorial in DC," said Honor Flight Public Information Director Wayne Lennep."

The guardians are not only volunteers, but they pay their own way for their flight up and back, and the tour. But most see that as a small price to pay for what these veterans did for them.  

I can't give back enough for what these guys have done for me and anything I could do I'm just thrilled to death," said guardian Ellen Self.

The reception they get at the Washington airport is amazing. Some people are volunteers with the National Honor Flight Organization. Others used to live in Moss Point and are now Washingtonians. They come here to greet the veterans from back home.  

At the memorials the mood ranges from somber, to joyous. As with Ellis Hart from Madison County, who had a visit from Washington area family, to picnic with him at the World War II Memorial.

Everywhere we went, people were coming up to the veterans and thanking them for their service, for which most of them wondered what all the fuss was about.  

"Makes me feel very humbled," said Yazoo City veteran Marshall Burnett." "In the first place, I don't really know what they are thanking me for. We did what we were asked to do. At that time, everybody in this whole nation, farmers, soldiers, businessmen, homemakers, everybody was cooperating in the war effort. And there was total unity in those years. I wish it were that way again."

The day wrapped up with the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Four of our group placed a wreath there.  

"It was an unexpected honor and an awe inspiring experience," said Meridian veteran Nevel Massey;.

In the flight back home, there was mail call, where letters written by school children were passed out to the veterans.

The welcome back home at Gulfport was astounding. You'd think it was the president.

Only there'd be no president today without these people's work back then. And the day's trip to Washington made a big difference to these veterans. But not nearly the difference they made to this country.

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