Honor Flight Columbus is in Washington, D.C., on the trip of a lifetime for soldiers who served our country. NBC4 went along with missions 109 and 110 in October. This story and the others that follow are meant to honor and celebrate veterans and to remember the life of sacrifice they made.
COLUMBUS (WCMH) – The World War II Memorial wasn’t dedicated until 2004, 59 years after the fighting ended.
Many veterans of that war have passed and so many others may never get the chance to see it.
Columbus Army Cpl. Jesse Johnson was the only World War II veteran to make the Columbus Honor Flight last month.
Johnson had just turned 17 years old when he was drafted to serve in the Asian Pacific Theater just over 80 years ago.
“Well, it brings back a lot of memories,” Johnson said of the monument.
He served in the 1905th Quartermaster Truck Company, hauling gasoline and ammunition.
Of those who served in World War II, 419,000 didn’t come home.
“Still think of those who have gone on, did their job and didn’t get back,” Johnson said. “You think about those people.”
Leah Decapua, 17, thinks about those veterans, too.
“When I tell them I’m 17, they laugh and say they don’t even remember being 17,” Decapua, an Honor Flight Guardian.
A senior at Upper Arlington High School, she applied to help on this Honor Flight, like her brother did before her.
“Freedom is not free, so it’s just a really good way of giving back,” Decapua said, saying volunteering was kind of her way of paying her dues.
“All these veterans have paid their dues. All of them have gone over and done their best to defend this country,” she added.
And at 97, Johnson’s wish is 80 years in the making.
“I just hope we don’t have to go again,” he said.