To the Editor:
I want to extend a sincere thanks to all those who were part of the Honor Flight Reunion event that took place on Friday, January 3, 2020 at the American Legion Post here in Manchester-by-the-Sea. I was reunited with a veteran soldier, Harold Stryker, who had served with me in Okinawa during WWII. We had not seen each other since being separated after the battle ended in 1945. We met again in front of the Legion surrounded by family, friends, veterans and supporters, including three other WWII vets — Russ Aldrich, Lloyd Wilson and Arthur Secher.
I want to thank documentary film producers Eric Roberts and Andrea Reeves, who are working on a series of pieces about Honor Flight Heroes, for transporting Stryker and his daughter, Eugenia Young, to Manchester-by-the-Sea for this meeting. They were escorted through Massachusetts and into town by State and Manchester Police cruisers. The Manchester Fire Department supplied a ladder truck flying a large American flag that provided a perfect backdrop for the two of us to greet each other. Many thanks to all from the departments involved.
The American Legion provided cookies and coffee, space and tables for us to use while sharing experiences and answering questions. Thanks go to Post Commander Allan Kirker, Post Sergeant-at-Arms and three-time Past Commander Billy Bell, Post Chaplain Bruce Heisey, and all who worked to provide refreshments, set up and clean up for the event.
Joe Byron, executive director of Honor Flight New England, was a great help in organizing and bringing supporters to the reunion. George Nickless and many people from First Parish Church, Congregational helped spread the word and welcomed Stryker, his daughter and the production crew to town. I was pleased to see Reverend Doctor Mark Boyea, our new pastor, taking part.
I have likely failed to mention some who were also part of this event, and I apologize. I want to thank one and all who helped two World War II veterans reunite again after 74 years.