Williams takes Honor Flight to D.C.Published 8:33pm Tuesday, June 26, 2012
Williamson participates in Honor Flight
When Joe Williamson of Tryon got off the plane in Columbia, S.C. recently, he was greeted by the Fort Jackson military band, playing to honor Williamson and the other veterans who were returning from an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.
The band was only one of the special honors the group received during their trip. They were allowed to bypass the security procedures because, as one official said, “You guys fought and protected us; now is our chance to honor you.”
Then, when they arrived at Dulles Airport in D.C., fire trucks were lined up beside the plane and shot streams of water at it, in a salute normally reserved for heads of state.
“All these years, I thought people didn’t care – but they do,” Williamson said. “It surprised me how much they cared. Everywhere we went, children wanted photos with the veterans.”
Williamson, 94 years old, was invited to participate in the Honor Flight because of his service with the Army Air Corps in the China-Burma-India theater from June 1941 – December 1945 during World War II. He was accompanied on the trip by John Cash of Landrum, who was selected as one of the trip’s guardians. Cash served in the Army during the Vietnam era, although he did not serve in Vietnam.
Williamson and 90 other WWII veterans and approximately 10 Korean War veterans, most from South Carolina, took part in the whirlwind one-day trip to D.C. In that one day, the group visited the World War II Memorial, the Korean and Vietnam memorials, the Iwo Jima memorial and Arlington Cemetery.