W’burg Veteran invited on Honor Flight

Local Veteran James L. Lewis will be among the latest to be invited to the upcoming Honor Flight from the Williamsburg area.
Lewis will aboard a flight to Washington D.C. on April 18, from the CVG in Airport, escorted by his daughter, Anna Gullett.
Honor Flights first began in May 2005 when six small planes flew 12 veterans to Washington. The popularity of the trip quickly drew a lot of attention and by the end of 2005 at least 137 American Veterans had been transported to Washington D.C.
During the veterans time in D.C. they are escorted around to visit all the Memorials including the World War II Memorial, the Vietnam War Memorial, and others.
Lewis said he is looking forward to the Honor Flight and said that unlike some others who will be on the flight, this will not be his first visit to Washington D.C.
“I was actually stationed in D.C. on two different occasions,” Lewis said. “On July 19, 1955, I’ll never forget that day, I joined the  Army as a volunteer for draft. I was grateful that I was never sent to Vietnam.
“I did, however get sent to Korea, where I served for 16 months. I got back home in April 1957, and figured I’d just pick up where I left off with my life. But things had changed back home.”
Lewis said that most of the boys living in and around Mowrystown and Sardinia worked at the brick yards through their high school years, but he was unable to find work anywhere.
“That’s when I made the decision to join the Air Force,” Lewis said. “So that’s what I did and ended up getting trained at the teletype. That was a lot of years before the computer but it was work that needed to be done. While I was in the Air Force, I was stationed in Wyoming and in New York and of course in Washington D.C.”
His daughter applied for her father to be on an Honor Flight last year, but it never happened, so she reapplied this year and he was invited, along with his cousin from Sardinia, Maynard Naylor. The two are extremely excited about the upcoming trip.
“I understand we’ll be having a great lunch as well as supper,” Lewis said with a chuckle. “I am very greatful that at 81 years old I can still get around pretty good. It’s going to be a good time with fellow veterans to reminisce and share stories.”
The Heroes’Welcome organization is a sub-group of the Honor Flight Network which organizes welcoming ceremonies for the honor flights.
Heroes’ Welcome is a project of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 180 in Vienna, Virginia. The ceremonies typically involve a group waiting inside or outside the gate where the flight arrives, clapping and cheering as the Veterans walk in. Active duty military members are often present as are other volunteers such as school children.
The Veterans pay nothing for the flight. They paid their dues when they agreed to protect America.