Through His Own Eyes: WWII Veterans Take Honor Flight To Washington

October 22, 2009


A picture, they say, is worth 1,000 words.

So when just over 100 World War II veterans headed to Washington Wednesday on the Fifth Annual Emerald Coast Honor Flight so that the veterans could see the World Ward II Memorial — their memorial — gave veteran Billy Ward of Walnut Hill a camera. We asked him to take pictures during his day and share them with you, our readers.

The pictures he brought back from Washington show the memorials, Jeff Miller and Bob Dole. But we also get a look inside and out the window of the plane, the fall colors of the trees in Washington, children playing, friends old and new together, and the veterans’ view of the grand homecoming back to Pensacola Wednesday night. The things he found important or interesting.

Ward’s eyes saw the fight for freedom in World War II. Wednesday, thanks to Emerald Coast Honor Flight, he was able to see the World War II Memorial with those same eyes. We invite you to click here for a gallery of Mr. Billy Ward’s photographs, and see the trip through his own eyes.

There were 103 veterans on Wednesday’s flight. They visited the World War II Memorial, the Vietnam, Korean and Iwo Jima memorials. They were joined by U.S. Rep. Jeff Miller, and former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole.

“The World War II Memorial was really something,” Ward said. “It was something I would not have expected.”

honor12.jpgWard, who was elected to served as Escambia County’s probate judge from  1973 to 1989,  said he enjoyed meeting Dole, a former presidential candidate.

“It was all spectacular,” he said. “Absolutely spectacular.”

When the veterans arrived back in Pensacola Wednesday night, many received handmade thank-you cards from students at Ernest Ward Middle School.

Click here for a gallery of photos by veteran Billy Ward as he shows us the Honor Flight through his own eyes. The photos are in sequential order, following the trip from Pensacola to Washington and back.

Other North Escambia area veterans on Wednesday’s Emerald Coast Honor Flight include Robert Joiner of Molino, John Clarence Smith of Jay, James Ward of Jay, and Morris Clarence Ward of Jay. Suzanne Vickrey of Molino was also on the trip, serving as a guardian.

Pictured top: The Emerald Coast Honor Flight allowed 103 veterans to visit the World War II Memorial in Washington for the first time on Wednesday. Pictured inset: Billy Ward Of Walnut Hill meets former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole. Pictured below: The veterans’ view as they were welcomed back to Pensacola Wednesday night. photos by veteran Billy Ward, click to enlarge.



8 Responses to “Through His Own Eyes: WWII Veterans Take Honor Flight To Washington”

  1. Joshua S. Sparrow on July 10th, 2010 9:44 pm

    Have they started Honor Flights for Korean War Vets?

  2. BigDon on October 24th, 2009 1:30 pm

    I was able to see the memorial after dark when my wife was working at the National Rehab Hospital in DC. Really makes you think.

  3. Robyn on October 23rd, 2009 11:11 am

    My uncle is in these pictures! He was selected to go on this flight and I am so thankful because I know how much it meant to him! He said he had a wonderful time and by the pictures you can tell they all did. Thank you so much to the people that make this possible, you are awesome and may you be abundantly blessed! These are our heroes!

  4. AL on October 22nd, 2009 6:41 pm

    Thanks to all our military, past and present

  5. Mrs. Perry on October 22nd, 2009 5:38 pm

    To all the veterans present, past, and future, THANK YOU for OUR FREEDOM!! GOD BLESS each of YOU!

  6. J. Brock Irby on October 22nd, 2009 3:20 pm



  7. Patriot on October 22nd, 2009 9:30 am

    I am humbled by this story and the remarkable pictures. Thank you, veterans, for your sacrifice to honor our freedom, and thank you, active military, now, for your service and sacrifice to the American people. Despite our country’s present woes, I would not want to live anywhere else.

  8. Stuart on October 22nd, 2009 8:16 am

    I wish my Grandfather could have made this trip that before he left us.

    God Bless the Greatest Generation…
    …all the men and women who served this country past, present, and future.

    My hat is off to you.


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