Twenty-four World War II veterans and their guardians traveled on an Honor Flight, all-expenses paid, three-day trip to Washington, DC, to see the WWII Memorial. Their trip was part of a mission from the Honor Flight Bay Area Foundation.
The purpose and mission of this effort was to honor the service of Oakland and other East Bay WWII veterans, men and women who are now in their 90s and many of whom have never been honored for their service to our country.
Annie Campbell Washington, Vice Mayor of Oakland and District 4 City Councilmember, and Charles Blatcher, Chairman, National Coalition of Black Veteran Organizations, co-chaired the committee of local political and military leaders who outreached to WWII veterans for this special fight and sponsored this trip.
Nine of the 24 WWII veterans on the fight came from Oakland.
“The World War II veterans in our community are some of the most humble and the most accomplished men and women in our society. It is our duty to celebrate the lives of these individuals,” said Vice Mayor Campbell Washington. “Spending three days in Washington, DC with these incredible heroes was an absolute gift in my life,” she continued.
The 24 veterans and their guardians spent three days visiting national monuments and memorials in Washington, DC. They placed a special wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It was an emotional and life-affirming trip for all.
They returned on Saturday evening and were met by several hundred members of military families, active duty and reserve units, veteran organizations and a special bag pipe unit to welcome them home.
Fundraising was chaired by Councilmember Larry Reid. All Oakland-area veterans and their guardians were funded entirely for the fight.
In addition, 10 Oakland Fire Department and Oakland Police Department employees, and Vice Mayor Campbell Washington served as guardians – each assigned to accompany one veteran on the trip.
Mr. Oscar Wright, an Oakland education and civil rights activist, was one of the WWII veterans on the Honor Flight. His son, Carl Wright, served as his guardian for the trip.
Other committee members included Councilmember Larry Reid, Jim Meyers, Conway Jones, Geoff Collins, Diane Williamson and Jamila English.