Nonprofit Brings WWII Vets To Oahu To Visit War Memorials

By CAITLIN BASILIO

With the help of the Forever Young Senior Wish Organization, 26 World War II veterans were given a flight back into history as they visited the Naval Air Museum Barbers Point last month.

The organization is a Tennessee-based nonprofit that strives to give hope and grant wishes to U.S. veterans age 65 years and older. This veterans group spent a week on Oahu, visiting the island’s various war museums and memorials.

Charlie Floyd

Charlie Floyd
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Charlie Floyd (center) returns with a smile on his face after taking a flight in a Aeronca plane flown by pilot Tim Cislo.

“These aren’t sightseeing trips, but trips of healing, peace and closure for our elderly warriors,” explained founder and president of Forever Young, Diane Hight. For most of the veterans, it was their first time to Hawaii since they were stationed in the Pacific.

At the Naval Air Museum, they were given the red-carpet treatment.

“All of the veterans were very honored, but it was an honor for us to hold the event,” said the muse-um’s director of marketing, Ilma Anikow.

Along with seeing everything the museum has to offer, the veterans got to go for an exhilarating ride.

“I think the highlight of their visit was seeing all the aircrafts, and they were thrilled to ride airplanes,” Anikow said.

“Some of them quickly jumped out of their wheel-chairs at the opportunity,” she added.

“All the extra things they did to make them feel special is something we’ll never forget,” added Hight. “The boy saluting the veterans as the bus left the museum had them all in tears, and they never quit talking about it.

“Something so small, which didn’t require any work or planning, meant everything!”

Hight thought that the most rewarding part of this experience for them was “knowing that America hasn’t forgotten their sacrifice for our nation.”

For more information on the program, visit nambarberspoint.org.