Prattville – Members of “The Greatest Generation” gathered at the Doster Memorial Community Center Sunday afternoon to register, receive orientation, and pick up an itinerary for Prattville’s fourth Honor Flight scheduled for April 17.
Approximately eighty World War II veterans, wishing to visit Washington, D.C. and see the memorial dedicated specifically to them, were in attendance as well as many of the guardians assigned to their care on that special day.
Honor Flight River Region co-chairman Roscoe Williams stated that the number of applications remains about the same every year.
“Usually we send letters out to about ninety veterans and this year, ten dropped off immediately, either couldn’t go or were deceased,” he said. “We have them dropping and adding every day, though. A veteran called Friday and said he couldn’t go, but we can usually add someone in his place.”
Williams said that people who wished to be guardians could sign up, but that the committee makes sure that they know the volunteers in order to avoid any problems on the trip.
Prattville Mayor Jim Byard Jr., Honor Flight Chairman, will be accompanying J. W. Little from Clanton, while his counterpart from Wetumpka, Mayor Jerry Willis, is responsible for two veterans.
“I know one of the guys, Colonel Mason from Eclectic, and the other I will meet here,” Willis said. “My dad was a World War II veteran and I’m just so happy to be a part of this.”
“I’m glad Prattville saw the need for the trips and that they have allowed the rest of us to participate,” he continued.
This is the first journey to the nation’s capital for Lake Martin resident and Navy veteran Leon Guy. He delighted in swapping war stories at Sunday’s event with three other men who fought for our country’s freedom in the 1940s.
“Not only am I looking forward to seeing the monument … well, I just want to see it all,” Guy said. “I didn’t know any of the guys here before, but I know some of them now and before I leave today I’ll know more about them.”
Jimmy Lee Lott had seen Washington, D.C. many times as he was stationed close to the city in 1946, but he had never been to the World War II Memorial.
“I know it will be something to see. I was an Army Engineer and fought in the Pacific Theatre,” said the Centreville native. “Wanting to go to Germany also, I re-enlisted, but back then there were just so many blacks that could go to Germany and I so didn’t make it there.”
Montgomery Regional Authority Fire Chief Bob Hendrix said that the celebration for the next Honor Flight homecoming had been planned.
“When they come back from Washington, we put on a shindig for these folks when they get off of the plane,” Hendrix said. “It starts with Maxwell Air Force Base, the City of Prattville, the City of Montgomery, all of the local fire and police communities team up, the military from Maxwell comes out, color and honor guards, the Governor’s Office, the mayors … we just make a big deal out of it.”
“We give them the homecoming that they didn’t get back then,” continued Hendrix. “It’s the least we can do for everything that they did for us.”
Article by Melissa Parker
© 2010 Our Prattville. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the express written consent of the publisher.