SAN DIEGO — To mark the observance of the Spirit of '45, Honor Flight San Diego hosted a special gathering on Mission Bay to honor our World War II heroes. Over 150 World War II and Korean War veterans gathered Sunday to celebrate the spirit of shared sacrifice and service, and to commemorate the 76th anniversary of the end of World War II.
“This is great,” said veteran Ron Harrell. “I’m loving this.”
“They’ve been doing this for a while, and it’s really great,” said WWII veteran Roberta Tidmore.
It’s the first in-person event for Honor Flight San Diego since the COVID pandemic began, and they took all the necessary precautions to keep these veterans safe.
“Everyone who came in had to be masked up,” said organizer Holly Shaffner. “And we’ve been taking temperatures, and we have contact tracing. We have it all laid out today.”
Roberta Tidmore served with the U.S. Marine Corps in San Diego, and on the day the war ended, she celebrated with other women in the barracks.
“I went across the street because there was a pie shop across from the Marine base at that time,” said Tidmore. “So I got a banana creme pie, took it back to the barracks, and we celebrated with banana creme pie.”
Tom Rice is turning 100 years old next week and he recalls his eagerness to serve in the military.
“I had twp years of college when I went in so I was eligible for almost anything and everything,” said Rice. “And I did it all.”
Tom not only served in the 101st Airborne Division, but he actually parachuted into Normandy on D-Day. And to celebrate his 100 year birthday, next Sunday he’ll be parachuting yet again.
“We’re jumping from 7,500 to 10,000 feet,” said Rice “And we’re going to land on the beach in front of the Hotel Del, and that’s somewhat symbolic of the Normandy beaches.”
Tom couldn’t be more grateful for the support for veterans given by Honor Flight San Diego.
“Thousands of people have been behind us and giving us praise,” said Rice.
The next Honor Flight for veterans is planned for early October, and they’re all looking forward to it.
“Save the date for October 3,” said Holly Shaffner with Honor Flight S.D. “We hope you’ll be there to honor our veterans coming home on our honor flight from Washington, D.C.”