Area veterans tour World War II Memorial
A group of local veterans recently visited the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. The trip was provided by the Potomac Highlands World War II Roundtable of Hagerstown. (Submitted photo / October 25, 2011)
The trip included stops at the Iwo Jima Memorial and a tour of Arlington (Va.) National Cemetery with tour guide Mark Snell, a history professor at Shepherd University.
The veterans were treated to a lunch provided by the Fort Meyer/Henderson Hall facility.
The veterans met at Long Meadow Shopping Center at 7 a.m., and were served coffee donated by the Dual Highway Dunkin’ Donuts and pastries from the Cookie Jar Bakery.
A Marine Corps Honor Guard, supported by the Veterans of Foreign Wars auxiliary, gave a salute to the veterans. A choral group from Paramount Elementary School sang patriotic songs before the veterans boarded the bus. Each veteran was presented a T-shirt with the Potomac Highlands Roundtable’s emblem.
It was the first trip to the memorial sites for many of the veterans. Each was accompanied by a “buddy” who was responsible for his veteran. Wheelchairs were provided by Equipped for Life, Maugansville Ruritan and Western Maryland Hospital Center.
The surprise highlight of the trip was when former Kansas Sen. Bob Dole and his wife, former Sen. Elizabeth Dole, greeted the veterans. Les Hart, one of the local veterans (10th Mountain Division) shared a foxhole with Bob Dole during the Italian campaign. It was a surprise meeting, as neither the senator nor Hart knew that the other would be at the memorial that day. It gave the trip a special meaning that brought the past and present together with one handshake.
Sponsors of the trip included private donors from the community, including Seniors Helping Seniors, Senior Compass Resource Guide and Shepherd University. Others who helped were VFW Auxiliary, BJ’s Custom Embroidery, Long Meadow Wine and Liquor and the Shepherd University Veterans Club.
The veterans on the trip were Russ Bender, Chambersburg, Pa., Air Force; Dave Demichei, Chambersburg, Air Force; Leo Fox, Hagerstown, Army; Mel Greenwald, Hagerstown, Navy; Howell Hammond, Greencastle, Pa., Navy; Les Hart, Hagerstown, Army; Don Kearns, Falling Waters, W.Va., Army; John Kinney, Chambersburg, Air Force; Clem Leone, Gettysburg, Pa., Air Force; Bill Madden, Hagerstown, Navy; Willis Meckley, Greencastle, Navy; Florence Miles, Hagerstown, Army; Jack Myers, Hagerstown, Army; Bob Overly, Hanover, Pa., Air Force; Bill Pratt, Hagerstown, Navy; Dieter Protsch, Hagerstown, German Army; Al Salter, Hagerstown, Navy; Art Staymates, Hagerstown, Army; Jack Stenger, Hagerstown, Army; and Dave Turner, Hagerstown, Air Force.