Special to the Times

Mr. Robert “Bob” Franklin of Lanark Village, along with 80 other World War II vets, made a one day round trip visit last weekend to the World War WII Memorial in Washington D.C.

Franklin is the third WWII Camp Gordon Johnston American Legion post member to be selected for this honor. The other two were Arthur Minichiello, of Revere, Mass. and Walter Mallet, of Carrabelle and Port St. Lucy.

Franklin’s son Ken, a Vietnam veteran, accompanied his father on the trip. Three other World War II vets in the party were accompanied by Vietnam veteran sons. World War II veteran Rex Massey of Carrabelle also made the memorial visit.

“It was a wonderful day. The veterans received a hero’s welcome everywhere they went,” Ken Franklin said.

The Honor Flight Network has transported more than 98,500 WWII veterans to Washington, D.C. to see their memorial.. The program presently has 121 hubs in 41 states. Due to the senior age of these WWII veterans, and the fact that we are losing approximately 800 of them daily, Honor Flight committed to do all within their power to make a WWII veteran’s dream a reality. The current focus will remain on World War II veterans and veterans from any war who have a terminal illness. However, the vision goes beyond World War II.

In the future, Honor Flight Network will also pay tribute to America's other heroes who served during the Korean and Vietnam wars, followed by veterans of more current wars. They, too, have given so much and it's time we show them that their efforts are not forgotten. Honor Flight Network has learned a lot over these last four years and one point that stands out is that our veteran heroes aren't asking for recognition. It is our position that they deserve it. Our program is just a small token of our appreciation for those that gave so much.

The group of veterans left from the Tallahassee Regional Airport on May 11 and returned the same day. Due to the advanced age and medical condition of many of these veterans they must be accompanied by a volunteer assistant. Volunteer assistants pay for their own airfare.