‘Greatest generation’ members needed

Published 12:05 am Thursday, October 9, 2014

They were dubbed “The Greatest Generation” for heroics in combatting two ferocious enemies on two entirely different fronts. Of course, I refer to the World War II veterans. My dad George and his brother Frank were among them.

Ironically, or tragically, when many of the scores of soldiers, Marines and sailors returned from the battlefields or islands, they processed out and almost immediately returned to what was supposed to be a “normal” life. And they did. They got married, went to work, earned a living and continued to serve their country through leadership, knowledge and patriotism. God bless them.

That’s why the Home With Heroes Foundation has two programs specifically for World War II veterans.

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One is the Miss-Lou World War II Honor Ride to the National World War II Museum in New Orleans. Scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 15, this excursion will be free to World War II veterans. We invite family and the public to join us. This will be a coach ride, with refreshments, gift bag, entrance to all the museum exhibits and the unforgettable production “Beyond All Boundaries” as well as surprises for the World War II veterans. The day begins early at 7 a.m. with departure from Copiah-Lincoln Community College’s Natchez Campus with arrival in time to see “Beyond All Boundaries,” followed by lunch, then several hours to tour the museum’s spectacular exhibits and experiences. I’ve been there three times and each visit I come away with renewed respect for these veterans. We will not provide lunch.

The other project involves interviewing World War II veterans. The Mississippi Humanities Council has placed a high priority on finding veterans in the Magnolia State. To date, our project has completed interviews with about 30 veterans. We will be interviewing throughout 2014 and 2015. The interviews will be shared with the University of Southern Mississippi’s Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage, the Witness to War Project, the Library of Congress’ Veterans History Project and other outlets. This will help ensure their stories are not lost. The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 9573 is overseeing the project, and I am its coordinator and lead interviewer.

Back to the Honor Ride, each World War II veteran must have an escort able to help the veteran, if needed. Fee for the escort is $115.

For all other travelers, the fee is $125. We’ll need to know by our early deadline of Oct. 17 about which World War II veterans, escorts and travelers will join us. After that, we open the seating to the general public. Final deadline is Oc.t 31.

Forms are available at the Veterans Agent Office in Natchez (second floor of the Senior Center, Washington Street), Allgood Business Machines, Highland Boulevard, Dianne’s Frame Shop, John R. Junkin Drive, Mims Jewelers, Main Street and Reed Insurance, Carter Street, Vidalia. Also, forms may be downloaded from the Facebook Page: Home With Heroes. For more information or forms, contact me at 601-442-0980 or Jimmy Allgood, Home With Heroes vice president at 601-597-6658, or email homewithheroes@live.com.


G. Mark LaFrancis is an Air Force retiree and president of the Home With Heroes Foundation.