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World War II veteran visits Washington

Tour of Honor

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POSTED: November 10, 2010 2:39 p.m.
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Grover Avera (left), Buddy Butler of Savannah, and Morris Trapnell of Metter at the memorial.

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When Grover Avera, 83, first learned of Honor Flight Savannah – a non-profit group that provides day trips to and from Washington, D.C. for World War II veterans to see the memorial created in their honor – he was interested, but a bit skeptical.

His daughter had brought the program to his attention and urged him to fill out an application. Avera wasn’t sure he could withstand a long day trip sandwiched between two plane rides.

“I had my doubts, so I left the application laying out,” he said. “Over a couple of weeks, my daughter kept calling, so I said, well, I’ll send it in. Unexpectedly, I got this call on a Thursday giving me the opportunity to go that Saturday. I didn’t have much time to decide, and if I’d hung up I might not have ever gone. But I told (the representative) I would go and I’m glad I did.”

Avera, along with over 20 other area veterans, boarded an early-morning flight in October and spent an eventful day in Washington, D.C. Honor Flight also provided a tour bus, volunteer chaperones and meals.

Being at the National World War II Memorial, the Magnolia Manor resident said, “was overwhelming” and made him feel proud.

The tour also took the veterans to the Vietnam and Korean War memorials, as well as Arlington National Cemetery.

Drafted into the Army at 18, Avera was stationed in Japan just after V-J Day.

“I was in basic training when the war ended … we were all destined for the Pacific when Truman had the atomic bomb dropped,” he explained.

Avera spent two years in Japan working with the 1st Signal Service Battalion at Gen. MacArthur’s headquarters in Tokyo.

After fulfilling his Army contract in 1947, Avera went on to a successful career in broadcast engineering, culminating in a 25-year run at the federal government’s Voice of America radio and television service.

The veteran spoke highly of the Honor Flight experience.

“It was a fantastic trip; I can highly recommend it. Even though it’s a long day, it wasn’t rushed and you had plenty of opportunity to rest. If you didn’t feel like getting off the bus, you could remain on it. Everything was taken care of … all you needed to do was carry your own medication.”

He lauded the efforts of the program and its volunteers.

“The organizers and caregivers were excellent, very good. They were encouraging and looked after us.”

To learn more about the Honor Flight Network, visit www.honorflight.org.  

 

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