ESCANABA — Even before making the flight today to Washington D.C.as part of the U.P. Honor Flight, many of the World War II veterans began reminiscing about their time in the military during the war. They gathered Wednesday night to get instructions on the trip and to get acquainted with each other.
Bob Moore of Marquette was in the Pacific theater during the war. He was at the movies when the announcement was made that the war was over.
“A voice came on that said, ‘gentlemen, it looks like the war is over. We dropped some kind of a crazy big huge bomb on Japan and it looks like that ended the war.’ Of course, all hell broke loose,” he said.
Moore almost felt disappointed by the news because he said he had no idea what he was going to do with his life next.
The 91-year-old former Marine pilot said he is making the trip to see the WWII Memorial because a friend told him what a wonderful time he had on the first U.P. Honor Flight last fall.
“I realize it’s going to be a fast and furious trip, but I guess the World War II Memorial would be the best to see. There might be a few names on there I might recognize,” Moore said.
There are 79 World War II veterans on Mission II of the Upper Peninsula Honor Flight. They will be on a whirlwind tour of the nation’s capitol that also includes stops at the Iwo Jima, Vietnam and Korea memorials. The day ends with the laying of a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
“Everything is has been going good,” said Barb VanRoy who heads the U.P. Honor Flight program. “I’m always super nervous if it’s going to go, and if I forgot something. But nobody ever notices. There’s a few thing up in the air yet.”
After the first flight in September, many of the veterans commented on how organized the event was. It’s that attention to detail that sent VanRoy shopping for umbrellas in case it was rainy Thursday.
The plane left the Delta County Airport at 6:30 a.m. It is scheduled to land in Baltimore at 8:30 a.m. The veterans are expected to arrive at the WWII Memorial before 11 a.m. They re expected to return to the U.P. at 9:30 p.m. where they will be greeted by family members and well wishers welcoming them home.
ABC 10’s Dan Gualdoni is traveling with the veterans, he’ll have an update in the U.P. Honor Flight tonight on ABC 10 News Now at 5:30 with Cynthia Thompson.
By Craig Woerpel