WWII vets flying to Washington, D.C. to see monuments

By Regina Butler/Pontotoc Progress

They remember with amazing clarity a history that most of us can only read about.
Yet many of these very men who fought to assure that we live in freedom have never seen the national shrines that have been built in their honor.
Come next Tuesday, three men from this area are going to see with their own eyes the beauty and grandeur of our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. One will be there for the first time in his life.
C.J. Kidd from Shady Grove, J.T. Swords from Ecru and Alvis Coker from Saltillo will be part of the Mississippi Gulf Coast Honor Flight, the fifth such flight from Biloxi to Washington, D.C.
The honor flight is free to veterans who can arrange for travel to the coast.
Swords and Coker went by bus to Washington several years ago to see the World War II monument, but Kidd has never been.
The three will have to be in Biloxi at 5 in the morning April 23, and depart from the airport at 7. Three hours later they will land at Reagan National Airport and begin a four hour tour which will start at the World War II monument and include the Lincoln Memorial, Korean, Vietnam and Iwo Jima Monuments.
It will conclude at the Arlington National Cemetery where they will observe the changing of the guard before departing and landing back in Mississippi at 7:40 p.m.
“All of this will be paid for by the Miss. Gulf Coast Honor Flight,” said Ellen Self, who is Swords daughter.
MS Gulf Coast Honor Flight is a non-profit program honoring the service and sacrifices of America’s ‘Greatest Generation’ – our World War II veterans.
They organize and sponsor one-day, free trips to Washington, D.C. for these heroes to visit and reflect at their WWII Memorial.
The organization is a member of the National Honor Flight Network, a nonprofit, nationwide family of local “hubs” created solely to honor America’s veterans for all their sacrifices and dedicated to this purpose.
Top priority is given to the senior veterans – World War II survivors, along with those veterans who may be terminally ill.
This honor flight is one of over 100 across the United States of America and is the only flight hub in Mississippi.
MGC Honor Flight is a nonprofit program sponsored in partnership with Kiwanis Division 14 Foundation, 2000 24th Avenue, Gulfport, MS 39501. Contributions to the MGC Honor Flight program will be received and administered by the Kiwanis Foundation, whose 501(c)(3) EIN is 20-2225748.