Often, when Honor Flights of World War II veterans come to Washington, D.C., to see the National WWII Memorial and other war monuments, they have a waiting period in an airport before the plane ride home.
During that waiting period, a group of swing dancers puts on a show for them right in the waiting area.
I am one of the swing dancers and I wear my suntans with my ribbons on and the 99th Infantry Division shoulder patch. The gals often are dressed like 1940s gals dressed.
Generally, the veterans are very tired, but when the boom box belts out songs like, “In the Mood,” their faces light up; and when the dancing starts we see smiles.
I cannot make the moves I used to make, but I grab a young gal who can and she makes me look good!
However, it only takes two numbers before I have to sit one out – during which time I chat with the veterans.
On one break, a veteran introduced himself as Ray Perisin of Company B, 394th Regiment of the 99th Infantry Division. What a thrill!
We chatted and I found out he was captured during the Battle of the Bulge. We could not go much beyond that because a gal asked me to dance … and spreading joy is my vocation, so I danced with her.
It was exciting to know that when this Honor Flight reached its destination in Chicago, there would be lots of people welcoming them back, two bands playing their kind of music, and cheers of thanks.
Arnold Taylor MP/099
507 Third St. SE