1 of 1
By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN
Eleven World War II veterans are packing for a trip to Washington, D.C., this week.
U.S. Navy veteran John Evelyn, 93, is eager to take off and revisit the capital he hasn't been to in many years. He thought he had missed his chance to go on a trip with Honor Flight of Kern County, but after seeing several other veterans go, he knew it was his time.
Evelyn joined "First Look with Scott Cox" guest host Ralph Bailey and Honor Flight of Kern County founder Lili Marsh on Tuesday to talk about the importance of spreading the word about Honor Flight. The program flies veterans to D.C. to see memorials at no cost to them.
"We encourage anybody who has a neighbor, friend or relative of World War II to sign them up so they can visit the memorial in D.C. and just have a great time," Marsh said.
The group will depart from Bakersfield's Meadows Field at 6:30 a.m. Thursday and return at 8:15 p.m. Saturday. The community is encouraged to welcome back the veterans.
Although Bailey tried to find out what veterans can expect on the trips, Marsh said she couldn't reveal much since Evelyn was in the room. She didn't want to ruin the experience for him.
"I can tell you that the word spreads quickly and people will come out and form a line in the terminal and just clap and cheer for them," Marsh said.
Bailey thanked Evelyn several times for being part of the group of men who saved the world; Evelyn simply smiled and nodded his head humbly.
"I wasn't sent out to fight overseas like so many of my friends, cousins and family did," Evelyn said.
He was stationed in San Diego during the war, creating and repairing missiles, submarines and other heavy artillery.
He lost many friends and family in the war, but when it was over he received as much support as those who had served outside the United States.
"You are a part of the greatest generation in history and you were just as important as those soldiers fighting in the war," Bailey said.
To help send veterans to Washington, D.C., donate and learn more at honorflightkerncounty.org. The application for veterans who want to go is also available online.