WWII Veteran Jack Bankson’s Thoughts for Memorial Day
“I’m 88 years old and never thought I would last this long. Nor did I think I would ever see our WWII Memorial, but I did on March 27th.
A couple years ago I signed up with Honor Flight, AZ and this spring was informed I would be one of 30 WWII veterans to fly to Washington, DC to see our memorial at no cost to us. Honor Flight is a group of volunteers that raise the money, organize everything and take us to the memorial. A couple of them and 27 guardians helped us make the trip. The guardians pay $900.00 to help us. Fourteen of our veterans were in wheel chairs and some needed lots of help. My son Ken J. who lives in Boston joined us in Baltimore.
WWII Veteran Jack Bankson, back row, ninth from left, and his Honor Flight
We visited the Capitol Building and Senator John McCain, then went to our WWII memorial which is very impressive, as are the others we saw. The Vietnam Wall, the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean War Veterans Memorial and Iwo Jima memorials. We then had dinner at the US Naval Academy with the young plebes.
Before departing the next morning, we went to Chesapeake Bay and Fort McHenry where Francis Scott Key wrote the Star Spangled Banner.
We flew home after three wonderful days with people like ourselves and our wonderful helpers.
There are not words to describe all the wonderful Honor Flight people across the US and what they do. One lady I met, Susan Barr, has gone on 230 flights. Our trip is something none of we veterans will ever forget.
But the emotions didn’t stop there. Easter Sunday I remembered that we started the big battle for Okinowa where I was an Army Platoon Sergeant 67 years ago and that many of my friends joined friends from previous battles on our list of people we think about, honor and remember. Not just on Memorial Day, but every day.”