“I always thought I would find a way to get to the World War II Memorial in Washington to see my name engraved there but because of sleep apnea and other serious health problems, I can’t be gone overnight,” Jim Finn of Anna Maria said last week.
Mr. Finn is a Marine Corps veteran of World War II who fought for our freedom on several fronts in the Pacific, including the battle of Okinawa. Jim shares his dream with many WWII veterans whose numbers are dwindling at the rate of over 1,200 per day.
A nationwide initiative called “Honor Flight” is making the dream possible for many of these heros. Since 2005, Honor Flight has raised funds and organized long day trips to our nation’s capitol so people like Jim can receive a memorable homecoming they never received but greatly deserved. Over 63,000 have been honored in this program.
The Rotary Club of Anna Maria Island is participating with 52 other Rotary Clubs in Southwest Florida to raise funds to transport about 70 WWII vets in June 2012 to Washington, D.C. from Fort Myers to visit THEIR memorial and other patriotic venues, including the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Volunteer Rotarian “Guardians” will accompany the veterans at their own expense. Qualified medical and ambulatory assistance will be provided when necessary.
There is no cost to the veterans. Today, Oct. 15, the local Rotary Club will have a booth at the annual BayFest celebration in Anna Maria providing information about Honor Flight and will be accepting any contributions to help cover the $500 price per veteran for the trip.
Please stop by the “Red, White & Blue” Rotary booth or visit www.annamariarotary.org for details and to make contributions online.
Barry Gould, Rotarian