by Emily Armentrout
On April 30, Wabash County World War II veteran Raymond Reed went on the Honor Flight to Washington D.C. with many other veterans from the area. His son, Stan, who was his traveling partner for the day, also joined Raymond.
Raymond was in a recognizance squadron as security in a tank.
“I went in during 1943 and I got home as 1945 ended,” Raymond told The Paper.
Raymond traveled clear across Europe during World War II.
“We were in Southern France when our division was called up to the North to the Battle of the Bugle,” said Raymond. “After that was over, we started moving towards Germany. By that time, they were getting pretty weak, and we moved pretty fast. We started for Berlin, with a few stops on the way. We pulled off the road once, and about a half a mile away, we saw Germans, so we opened up with our machine gun. There was a white flag or two that came shooting, so we stopped firing. We weren’t hitting anyone, but it scared them enough to surrender.”
Raymond’s brother got him started on the application for the Honor Flight.
“You have to apply to get on a waiting list,” said Raymond’s wife Jackie.
During Raymond’s Honor Flight experience, he left Fort Wayne International Airport, flying directly to Washington D.C. to spend the day at the World War II Memorial, stopping at other memorials on the way.
Raymond’s favorite experience was the arrival home at the Fort Wayne International Airport, where there were dancers depicting an old USO show and families awaiting the return of their beloved veterans.
“They had ladies and gentlemen dancing like the old programs. The highlight of the whole trip was seeing rows of people welcoming us home,” said Raymond.
All the Honor Flights are 100 percent free to the participants. The flights are funded by individual and corporate contributions. These flights are a small way to honor World War II veterans.
World War II veterans are leaving us at a rate of over 1,000 every day, according to the Northeast Indiana Honor Flight website. If you are interested in donating to honor a veteran, you can donate online at www.hfnei.org or by sending donations to Honor Flight NEI at PO Box 5, Huntertown, IN 46748.
Another way to participate in supporting our veterans locally is to join at the Congregational Christian Church on Monday, May 26 from 8-9:30 a.m. for breakfast. The meal will be held prior to the Memorial Day Service, beginning at Halderman Field at 10 a.m. A freewill offering will be collected for the Honor Flight Network. The Congregational Christian Church is located at 310 N. Walnut St., North Manchester.