I was privileged to serve as volunteer guardian for World War II veteran, Jim Perry (Army Lt. Col. Retired). The day's surprises can be best summed up in the phrase, compassion and respect. In the boarding area, two women in WW II attire sang and danced to WW II tunes. My 88-year-old aunt from Moline, Mary Kruse, surprised me by showing up as a last minute replacement. She was a Wave Lt. j.g. and one of two female veterans.
At Dulles Airport, fire trucks saluted by spraying water over the aircraft as we taxied, much like crossed swords at military ceremonies. A highlight at the WW II Memorial was the appearance of U.S. Sens. Bob and Elizabeth Dole who talked to every veteran.
Then it was on to the Korean War Memorial. Jim earned a Bronze Star in WW II, but in Korea, he spent 14 months in combat and earned two Silver Stars, another Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and five commendation medals. Back home at 1 a.m., a patriot played a bagpipe, 300 others applauded and Jeff and Susie Tunberg passed out Whitey's Sgt. Camo ice cream. We had been awake for 22 hours, but were too charged up to be sleepy.