Local vets board D-Day Anniversary Honor Flight to DC - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

Honor Flight carries local vets to D.C. for 70th D-Day anniversary

Joseph and Anthony Shields Joseph and Anthony Shields
Judd Templin Judd Templin
Mac Morris Mac Morris

LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - On the 70th anniversary of D-Day, a group of veterans from Kentuckiana visited the nation's capitol thanks to a regional Bluegrass Honor Flight initiative.

After getting their t-shirts and trip orders, area veterans from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War fanned out toward the departure gates at Louisville International Airport.

Navy veteran brothers, Joseph and Anthony Shields, helped make up the group of more than two dozen veterans taking part in the daylong trip. The brothers, now in their eighties, knew all too well the realities of war.

"I was stationed at Pearl Harbor," said Joseph Shields.

"I spent my time sailing in the south Pacific," began Anthony Shields, "and we had a third brother in the service in a different location but he didn't make it home."

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of the invasion at Normandy, the Shields and more than two dozen other Kentuckiana veterans paid homage to their fallen comrades with an Honor Flight to the nation's capitol sponsored by Ford.

"This is actually third year in a row that we've been able to sponsor the Louisville flight," said Judd Templin, a Ford Motor Company representative. "We have a lot of veterans at our two plants in the area, a lot of veterans that are dealers, so it just made sense given our history, given our commitment to the area, to help honor these veterans today."

"We're there," began Mac Morris, a Navy veteran, "to honor the people who didn't make it."

While this was not the first travels to the memorials for the 90-year-old, it did mark the first time Morris shared the experience with someone that personally looked up to him.

"I've got my grandson with me," said Morris, an Owensboro resident.

Morris hoped Friday's trip would leave an everlasting impression on younger generations.

"They don't need to know any specific details," said Morris. "They just need to know that their freedom was paid for and by people who were the same age they are when they paid it."

Prior to take off, Morris' grandson already seemed to have taken note.

"You know, they're the greatest generation ever," said Matt Brown, Morris' grandson. "They pretty much saved the world."

Both Honor Flight participants like Brown and younger veterans shared that appreciation for the sacrifices made by those who have died in the line of duty.

After their daylong trip, the group will return to Louisville. A homecoming celebration will be held in their honor beginning at 9:30 p.m. The public is invited and encouraged to attend.

To learn more about Bluegrass Honor Flight, click here.

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