PONTOTOC, Miss. (WCBI) – They have been called America’s greatest generation, a generation that proudly earned the badge “Hero,” because of the sacrifice they and their families made during the Great Depression and World War II.
Now three members of that generation are getting to go to Washington D.C. to visit a memorial that is dedicated to their bravery, courage and sacrifice.
These three men share several common bonds, they all grew up in the area and when their country needed them, they answered the call.
“I was in the 8th Armored Division, I took basic training at Fort Knox, Ky.,” said C.J. Kidd.
“I was in the 3rd Armored Division, Company D , 32nd regiment of First Army,” said J.P. Swords.
“I went in the Navy, I was 17 years old when I went in in 1943,” said Alvis Coker.
Swords and Kidd served in the European Theatre, while Coker was in the Pacific. All three returned home and lived and worked in Northeast Mississippibut whenever they get together, they reminisce. As they sat in the Town Square Museum in Pontotoc surrounded by World War II artifacts and momentoes, they remembered those who didn’t get to come home.
“He was a commander of that half track, he was sitting down in the command seat and this German shell landed beside our half track. A piece of that shrapnel cut through and went through him like he was a paper sack and cut this hole into my towel,” Kidd said.
As they share memories, they are also preparing to share a special trip to the nation’s capital. On April 23, they will leave from Gulfport on what is known as the Mississippi Gulf Coast Honor Flight. The non-profit program honors the services and sacrifices of veterans by flying them and a guardian, free of charge, for a one-day visit to the World War II Memorial and other sights in Washington D.C.
All three say they’re ready for the trip.
“I told my daughter, I said if they build it I’m going to see it, I’m going to enjoy the plane ride as much as the memorial,” Swords said.
“It’s just a good memory of the guys who gave their all. I don’t know what it will look like because I haven’t saw it, but I’m sure it’s nice,” Kidd said.
“I just think it’s something that I think the country, government owed that to us, people who gave so much, I think it’s real nice for them to do for us, for all veterans,” Coker said.
All three say they’re blessed to be able to make the trip and and they also believe the memorial will remind future generations of the courage, sacrifice and patriotism of those who answered the call.
If you would like to help with future flights, call Ellen Self at 662 419 1000, or go to http://www.mgchonorflight.org/