Shared experiences, unique moments take place on Honor Flight - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Shared experiences, unique moments take place on Honor Flight

Walter Butler, a World War Two veteran from Jones County, places a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington Tuesday. Walter Butler, a World War Two veteran from Jones County, places a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington Tuesday.

This Tuesday's Mississippi Gulf Coast Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. was a journey of many shared experiences for the 94 World War Two veterans who made the 12-hour round trip from Gulfport. They shared a flight together, they shared letters from school children thanking them for their service, they experienced a hero's welcome, in both Washington and Gulfport and they paused together for a moment of silence for fallen comrades at the National World War Two Memorial.

All of these experiences brought these veterans closer together, giving them a chance to renew old friendships and begin new ones.

"It's wonderful to be with them, to meet them and to sense being with them," said Bill Clark, a veteran from Covington, La.

"Some of them I know, some of them live pretty close by, but I never see them," said Grover Furniss, another veteran from the Gulf Coast. "I've seen them here (at the World War Two Memorial) though, today," he said.

Shared experiences were plentiful, but there were unique moments on this journey as well and there was an especially memorable moment for Jones County veteran Walter Butler.

He had the honor of placing a Gulf Coast Honor Flight wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington National Cemetery.

"I felt it was a distinct honor and a privilege to be able to do it," Butler said. 

Some very patriotic Americans helped make the Honor Flight possible for the veterans. The folks with the Mississippi Gulf Coast Honor Flight work hard to make each flight meaningful and memorable. They say it's the least they can do for what's been called the greatest generation.

"People thank us for doing this, but the thanks belongs to these veterans," said Wayne Lennep, vice president and director of public relations for the Mississippi Gulf Coast Honor Flight. 

"That's why we do it. We would rather stay behind the scenes and let them share and receive the honor that they deserve. It's true, true gratitude, because we know what these people have done for us," Lennep said.

Another Honor Flight for the fall is being planned. If you'd like to go along, you can apply at www.mgchonorflight.com

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