Plemer East, left; Ruth East, front center; Randy East, far right; and Johnnie East, back center, welcomed veterans back to Birmingham airport. Photo: Special to The Star
Local WWII veterans Plemer East of Oxford and Marvin Haskew of Weaver, accompanied by guardians Randy East and Philip Garmon, were selected to participate in the May 5, 2011 Veterans’ Honor Flight. The trip included 98 World War II veterans who flew from Birmingham to the Baltimore, Md., BWI airport, accompanied by guardians and the program coordinators for a group totaling 192. The charter flight landed at BWI to be greeted by fire trucks, water cannons and active military. Charter buses departed the terminal amid salutes from active military and traveled to Washington D.C., where they first visited the WWII Memorial. The group was greeted by Sen. Jeff Sessions at the monument where they spent time with him, conversing and shaking hands. The group toured the monument then proceeded to the Korean conflict monument. After a short visit there, they proceeded to the Iwo Jima Marine monument, then on to the Air Force Memorial and Navy Memorial. The group ended the day returning to BWI late in the afternoon.
A poignant moment ended the day as the group waited on the plane to depart BWI. A group of Air Force servicemen departing for Afghanistan boarded the plane to shake the veterans’ hands and thank them for their previous service to their country. The Honor Flight group arrived back at Birmingham later that night to be greeted by a crowd of approximately 200 that included family, friends, well-wishers, active military and Boy Scouts.