veteran knows about freedom
Wayne Hull, Versailles, formerly of Holton, knows the meaning
of celebrating the Fourth of July. He knows the cost of freedom
having served in World War II on the islands of Guam and Siapan.
Those B-29s would fly out of there, Hull recalled,
as he told about his job as a cryptographer in the war. He would
decipher secret messages and stay in contact with the radio operators
on the big aircrafts. He served in the Army Air Corp from 1943-46.
He remembered how the bombs were dropped on Japan and the feeling
when the war finally was over.
That was years ago when he was a teenage boy, just graduated from
high school. He actually graduated in the spring of 1943 and was
drafted that fall in September.
Recently, Wayne and his daughter, Phyllis, went on a WWII Honor
Flight Tri-State trip to Washington, DC, which they describe as
the trip of a lifetime.
I thought it was great, Wayne told The Versailles
Republican. He was impressed with the organization of the group
and the honor that was bestowed on the veterans as they traveled.
Phyllis told how a 10-year-old boy came up to her father and shook
his hand. It really means something, the third grade
teacher of nearly 30 years noted. She has been at South Ripley
Elementary for the duration of her career.
She was impressed with the shirts the group was given. On the
back it read, If you can read this, thank a teacher,
then it said, If you can read this in English, thank a veteran.
Just something about that really appealed to me, Phyllis
Wayne said his trip to Washington brought back many memories from
the war. He had never seen all the memorials and was so impressed
with them. The Iwo Jima, Lincoln and Air Force monuments were
among his favorites as well as the World War II memorial that
has a theme of water. The beautiful fountains depict the waters
the military had to cross to fight the war on foreign soil.
The group left the Greater Cincinnati Airport on May 10 on a charter
flight for Washington, DC where they arrived to a water cannon
salute. This is where the fire trucks are in position to spray
a big stream of water as the plane lands. This is usually reserved
for dignitaries. There was a band and people waving flags along
with USO dancers at one point on the trip. The veterans
really were the focus, noted Phyllis.
The plane full of veterans and their guides were transferred to
a bus, which had a police escort throughout their sightseeing
trip in Washington. We never stopped at a red light,
It was an impressive sight as the veterans took their rightful
place and were honored for their service of helping to free the
world from tyranny during those tedious years of the 40s.
Millions of lives were lost during that time and most of the veterans
just considered coming home celebration enough.
We just went back to work and that was it, noted Wayne.
He doesnt think he did anything great, but history tells
another story. The Honor Flight is appropriately named,
noted his daughter, Phyllis, who said the veterans were honored
every second of the trip.
Wayne had worked with a man whose son was killed in Vietnam. While
in Washington, DC, he was able to get a rubbing from the wall
where thousands of names are imprinted from that war. He said
it was a humbling experience and he was also so impressed with
the Arlington Cemetery, which seems to go on forever.
Wayne still has a friend he stays in contact with from the war.
He was a radio operator, he noted. He said he remembers
when the bomb was dropped that ended the war after it was brought
in on the USS Indianapolis, which was later torpedoed and lost.
The memories of the war were vivid, but the honor to the veterans
canceled out the negative cloud of so long ago and let the veterans
know every sacrifice they made was greatly appreciated.
Wayne will celebrate the Fourth of July with family and friends
and he will be the one in the crowd who knows the true meaning
of the holiday that sizzles with sparklers and fireworks.
If you know of a World War II veteran who would like to make the
trip to Washington, DC, you can contact the Honor Flight Tri-State
TOP LEFT PHOTO: Phyllis Hull and her father, Wayne
Hull of Versailles, as they waited to board the charter
flight to Washington, DC, with Honor Flight Tri-State
PHOTO RIGHT: Wayne Hull when he entered World War
II in 1943.
Pictured at left, Wayne Hull posed in front of the Guam
section of the WWII memorial. He served in Guam and Siapan.