Spirit of ’45 event will send more WWII veterans on flight of honor


Published:

Honor Flight honoree Jim Alexander is one of many moving images and voices videographer Alex Edwards captured in a video of WWII victory remembrances to premiere August 14.

Frank and “Kathleen” Kitty McGuire of Melbourne finally made the trip to Washington, D.C. courtesy of the all-volunteer nonprofit Honor Flight earlier this year. It was mostly Kitty who struggled with the notion that she was any kind of a hero because the WAVES veteran served in an office rather than on a battle field.

The rapid end of war in the Pacific meant Frank McGuire would not need to invade Japan stationed aboard the USS Sidonia (AKA-42), “saving many skins including mine.” To the McGuires, it was the volunteers and supporters of Honor Flight groups that deserve to be honored.

“People waited five hours in the middle of the night to greet us when we returned because the flight was delayed,” Kitty McGuire said. “You hear the word humble a lot, but it was a very humbling experience to think that all these people waited to greet us and honor us for something you did simply because it was expected of you.”

The public will get a chance to send more World War II and now Korean War veterans to visit the memorials for their war and branch of service at the Senior Life “Keep the Spirit of ’45 Alive” event to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the end of WWII.

While the McGuires went on the most recent Honor Flight June 15, Jim Alexander of Indian River Colony Club in Viera went on the first-ever one from Brevard. Frank and Kathleen “Kitty” McGuire of Melbourne visit with former U.S. senator Bob Dole, who was injured during WWII, is a regular volunteer greeter of Honor Flight veterans.

“The Honor Flight volunteers had about 50 school children meet with us and thank us for our service. They each gave us a thank-you letter with such nice messages and pictures they’d drawn,” Alexander said, pausing to compose himself as he took part in a video project to capture remembrances of the day WWII was declared a victory. The video will premiere at the “Spirit of ’45” event.

“I look at those letters every day and when I do I just … . I’ll just never forget.”

Space Coast Honor Flight president and retired USAF Lt. Gen. Bill Welser will speak at the event.

“We are racing against the clock to get our veterans to see their memorials and be deeply honored and thanked for their service,” Welser said. “They are not just our Greatest Generation, they’re our greatest treasure.”

For more information on Honor Flight, go to spacecoasthonorflight.org