Salute to my Dad: WWII USN Combat Air Crewman
Franklin A. George: WWII USN Combat Air Crewman
Yesterday, I awoke early as my Dad does every day at 05:30 a.m. As a child at home, Dad would often awaken us boys with reveille. My Mother just smiled big in the background as Dad sang like trumpets, dancing around our beds.
Years later, my brother and I visited Dad’s house and like clockwork the same thing happened. At the crack of dawn, there’s Dad with that revolting reveille. Once my eyes cracked open, I had to give the performance the same smile my Mother once did. He is funny.
When I was in the Army and heard the trumpets blare from the speaker towers in camp, I somehow sensed a touch of home.
Today, my wife and I would meet Dad at the WWII Memorial in Washington DC. We decided to drive the four miles from our house, park, and walk to greet his bus arrival at 10:30 a.m. That means we would have to leave our house no later than 09:30 to ensure parking and navigating DC delays that are always expected.
We got across the Potomac and at the edge of the city entrance police were redirecting traffic. Oh no, an event. We ended up parking back across the river at Arlington National Cemetery. We had to decide whether catch the Metro or walk from there. Catching the Metro introduces other problems. Catching a cab from there is impossible. So, it will be a force march across the bridge.
I was dressed in a sport jacket out of respect for visitors. My wife wore a dress and sandals, OK for walking. It wasn’t too hot yet, so off we went. She was in a near jog and I thrust my long legs and in my head was singing, “I want to be an Airborne Ranger; I want to live a life of pleasure, etc.”
We made it to the memorial right on time without any moments to spare except getting in line at the men’s room behind the Flomax crowd. We all have to go, and we’re mighty slow about it. My wife commented, “There are no lines on my side,” rubbing it in.
I stood at the entrance where the Honor Flight buses arrive, each bearing a sign with the town and state from where the visitors are from. Other states were present, but not a bus from Columbus, Ohio yet. I talked with the military greeters, soldiers, sailors, airmen – young men and women in uniform, awaiting the distinguished guests at their memorial.
My wife held the camera at the ready.
A new fleet of buses arrived and I watched as there were several from Columbus. Then, I saw him standing at the base of the bus steps, my Dad, Franklin A. George, WWII USN Combat Air Crewman. Dad is legally blind and I am disabled with a hearing impairment, but we found one another and gave a big hug as tears ran down our cheeks.
We are together only once a year or so because the distance is far between us. He lives close to my brother now, and that is a very good thing.
Today, he is visiting our turf in Washington DC, and here is his honored moment. Accompanied by US Army Air Corpsman and other Navy Vets, he was given a personal tour by a Vietnam Vet escort assigned to him.
Dad walks with a cane and has trouble seeing, but this day, he saw and felt the warm welcome and respect that Americans have for our combat veterans. I was especially proud and glad to be with him for this experience.
“Time is of the Essence.
Based on recent 2008 statistics, we are losing World War II veterans at the rate of approximately 1,000 per day. Honor Flight Network will continue do whatever it takes to fulfill the dreams of our veterans and help our senior heroes travel absolutely free.
Subsequent to the World War II veterans, our efforts will then focus on our Korean War and then Vietnam War veterans, honoring them similarly.”