Serendipity

A bunch of swing dancers put on a show at Reagan National Airport for WW II Honor Flight veterans who were waiting for their flight home after having visited the National WW II on the Mall here in Washington, D.C., and other memorials. I was one of the dancers.

Seeing us jitterbugging the way they used to do years ago was a big hit for those veterans, some of them in wheelchairs.

It was sweet to see some of the gal dancers latch onto an old guy and help him to dance with moves he had not done in years. Two gals jigged one guy around in his wheelchair and did all kinds of dance moves with him.

We had a ball right there in the concourse with a boom box blaring out the music they all love — Dorsey, Goodman, Basie, you name it!

I, of course, had to sit out after a couple of numbers because my stamina is not as great as it was a mere year ago when I could dance for three hours straight. So, when I was on break, so to speak, I would seek to overcome my bashfulness (ho! ho!) by talking with the departing veterans.

One of them was a Walter Smith who had trained with the 99th Infantry Division in Texas but did not go overseas with them. Instead, he was sent to a place in Texas to guard American military prisoners and later to guard German Prisoners of War.

Here’s a switch: After I finished training with the 704th Military Battalion in Augusta ME, I was assigned to guard German POW’s but later, after I had been sent to Germany to replace a 99th Inf. Div. MP, I guarded American military prisoners in Germany after the war was over. Odd coincidence!

Walter Smith now lives in Boynton Beach FL, and we talk by phone every now and then. He is deeply thankful to have been on one of those Honor Flights and reports that he and the others on the flight were amazed by the cheering crowds that greeted them on their arrival, and the swing dancers who put on a show as they were waiting to go home.

Arnold Taylor MP/099
507 3rd St SE
Washington DC 20003

Last modified April 15, 2010

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