World War II Veterans enjoy Honor Flight reunion - - The News for South Mississippi

World War II Veterans enjoy Honor Flight reunion


The Honor Flight is a program dedicated to honoring the men and women of the greatest generation by taking veterans to Washington DC to see the monument built in their honor and other memorials.

World War II Veteran Julius Gainspoletti was a guest on Honor Flight number three. He said, "I felt I was wanted. I was needed, and people appreciated me."

World War II Veteran Arnell Hutchison who was aboard Honor Flight four said, "I think my grandson will always remember the trip, as well as me, because I never did think I would see the memorial."

That is what the program is all about, giving a well overdue thank you to these heroes for allowing us to live free. And the program does not end when the flight is over, the veterans are brought together and also honored at reunions.

Veteran Don Hemphill said, "I think about World War II everyday. There's not a day that passes that I don't think about it, and when I came down here for the first honor flight it did something to my heart. And I still have that close feeling."

Hemphill is one of five World War II veterans who have become known as the "Brookhaven Five." They were aboard Honor Flight One in 2011 and would not think about missing a reunion just because it is a three hour trek to Woolmarket.

"Golly, look what these people did for us, you know? We just wouldn't miss it; we just love it," Hemphill said with a smile.

The veterans enjoyed spending time with other veterans, reminiscing about their flight and being serenaded with patriotic songs.

Gainspoletti said, "I almost cry when I hear the good patriotic music because I am strictly patriotic. If you come to my house in Cleveland, you'll see at least nine flags across my front yard."

Most of these men and women think they did what anyone would do.

"Make the best of what you had to do," Gainspoletti said. "I am just happy with my life and I thank all my family for all they do for me."

The Honor Flight program is dedicated to letting these World War II veterans know they truly are heroes for all they did for us.

Mississippi Gulf Coast Honor Flight organizers say they hope to take more veterans to Washington DC in the spring. Click HERE to learn how you can be aboard the next flight.

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