Honor Flights offer memorable opportunity

Jennifer Byrd

New Editor 

Ninety-nine American World War II Veterans flew to Washington D.C. Oct. 24 for the Eleventh Oklahoma Honor Flight.

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The OHF mission statement is “transport Oklahoma Veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit those memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifices.”

The veterans toured multiple memorials and saw the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery. The trip was completely paid for by OHF, which is a not-for-profit, all volunteer organization. OHF relies on the community’s donations in order to give veterans the opportunity to visit Washington, D.C.

Veterans like Gene Frazier, who served in the Navy from 1943-1946, are provided with a guardian to accompany them throughout the trip and offer assistance. Mr. Frazier said, although he had been to Washington, D.C. before, “it never gets old.” He said he was most excited to see the WWII memorial, as it had not been built the last time he visited the capitol city.

Charles Head, who served in the 6th and 2nd Marine Divisions from 1944-46, also said his favorite part of the tour was the WWII Memorial. Charles was shot in the Battle of Okinawa and received a Purple Heart. After recovering for several months, he was on his way back to Japan when the Japanese surrendered. He said going to D.C. was a great experience, and brought back a lot of memories and emotions.

Even though Charles is in his eighties now, he still has the Marine mentality. While many of the Veterans were being pushed in wheelchairs after their long day in Washington, Charles was helping push another Veteran. With a smile on his face he commented, “Once a Marine, always a Marine.”

Charles and Gene are just a couple of the 16 million Veterans that served our country during WWII. Their stories of hardships and countless sacrifices in the name of freedom define them as true American heroes to our country.

Currently 150 Veterans are on the Oklahoma Honor Flight waiting list. The next flight is tentatively scheduled for April 17, 2013.

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