WDAY Honor Flight
The World War II Memorial was built in Washington, D.C., in 2004, nearly 60 years after the war ended. Many veterans were unable to go see it, and the Department of Veterans Affairs estimates 640 World War II veterans die each day. The Honor Flight Network was created to transport veterans to Washington to visit the war memorials. The non-profit organization prioritizes transporting World War II survivors and veterans with terminal illnesses. The WDAY Honor Flight is part of the Honor Flight Network.
Kim Solseth’s grandpa Buzz Krone is a World War II veteran who was stationed in Okinawa, Japan. He was part of the Navy’s 36th Special Construction Battalion, known as the Seabees, and served as a litter bearer for some of the bloodiest battles of World War II.
A few years ago, he was able to take part in an Honor Flight. The flight, food and lodging were all covered by donations. Since it meant so much to her grandpa, Kim decided to donate her Pay It Forward funds to the program to help give other veterans the same experience.
“The Honor Flight meant the world to me,” Buzz says. “Every veteran should have the chance to go.”
“My grandpa has always been one of my favorite people. Being the youngest grandchild and only granddaughter, we have always had a special connection,” Kim remarks. “Since someone was generous enough to donate funds to allow my grandpa to go on an Honor Flight, what better way to return the favor than by donating my Pay It Forward money to the Honor Flight program?”
The Globe newspaper in Worthington, Minn., wrote a story about Buzz following his Honor Flight. During a Heroes Banquet, Buzz sang a song he learned while serving in Okinawa. He told the newspaper reporter he didn’t know what the song meant, but it was a type of Okinawan anthem.
He had also taught the song to Kim when she was a child. Kim and her husband found someone to help them translate the song – something Kim says they wouldn’t have thought to do if Buzz hadn’t gone on the Honor Flight. They then framed the translation along with his unit patch and sand from the beach he landed on in Okinawa.
“Thank you, Bell Bank, for allowing me to donate funds to something that means so much to me and my family,” Kim says.
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