Oklahoma World War II Veterans To Visit Memorial In Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, June 7th 2011, 11:32 pm
By: News On 6

Scott Thompson, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- A total of 104 World War Two veterans from Eastern Oklahoma are recounting the memories they made with a visit to the World War Two Memorial in Washington DC. They had an early morning send off from Tulsa International Airport Wednesday.

It was kind of like being back in the military. The veterans had to get up awfully early, and there was lots of waiting in line.

But things move a lot slower now. Veterans were in blue, their chaperones in red. Michael Coon accompanied his father, Phillip.

"He's the first generation, I'm the second, and my son is the third, regular Army – three," Michael Coon said.

They're in their 80s and 90s, and most have never been to Washington D.C. to see the World War II Memorial built in their honor.

Oklahoma Honor Flights is free of charge for veterans to spend a day touring the nation's capitol with a stop at the World War II Memorial.

Normally these flights leave out of Oklahoma City, but coordinators of the annual event tell us, the veterans, who are in their 80's or 90's, can get rather exhausted taking a road trip from Tulsa to Oklahoma City. 

Tuesday night, a special ceremony was held in Owasso honoring the World War II veterans.  Eric Proctor Oklahoma State Representative and Chairman for the Honor Flight Program for eastern Oklahoma was there to speak with veterans. 

Wednesday morning, two buses loaded with veterans arrived at TIA and the veterans boarded an airplane for the day trip to DC. 

5/30/2011 Related Story: Tulsa Fifth Graders Say 'Thank You' To World War II Vets

"Ever since I got out of the army people have come up to me and thanked me for my service, this is the biggest thing I've ever had for my service in the country and it makes you feel good," said George Bradley, Honor Flights veteran.

There's a flag-draped walk to the plane. The mayor was there to wish them well. This is the fourth Oklahoma Honor Flight and the first to leave from Tulsa.

"Then we have enough veterans on our waiting list to fill three more flights for our travel schedule in 2012," said Gary Banz of Oklahoma Honor Flights.

As is customary, their airplane departs beneath a water cannon salute. Their day in D.C. will be hectic.

They won't be able to see everything, but the bulk of their time will be at the World War II memorial, and that will be enough.

Remembering the stories they lived then, and making new ones to tell.

"When we get back I'm gonna go out for dinner and all of my family's gonna get together and let me speak to them at one time on the experience," Orvel Sherrill, Honor Flights veteran, said.

There were two women vets on the flight with all the fellows, including Glenn Green who was an Army nurse.

If their schedule's anything like it was when I was with them last year, their buses are stuck in traffic right now on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway on the way to Baltimore airport.

Just as anxious as they were to get there, they are equally anxious now to get back home.