On October 16, Whitewater resident, Rollie Cooper along with his escort Bill Cooper, Rollie and Nancy Cooper’s youngest son, spent a day in Washington, D.C. thanks to the Milwaukee Stars and Stripes Honor Flight. Stars and Stripes Honor Flight, Inc. honors veterans with a life-changing trip to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorials and experience a day of honor and thanks.
Lieutenant Cooper served in the Korean Conflict in the Army Signal Corps. He was one of six Korean military honorees on this flight, while the others on the flight, including active Whitewater resident Jim Stewart, were Viet Nam veterans.
The veterans visited the Viet Nam Memorial, the Korean Memorial, and the Air Force Memorial. The group visited Arlington Cemetery where they witnessed the changing of the guard and saw the grave of Audie Murphy, one of the most decorated World War II soldiers. They drove around the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol area.
One of the high points of the visit was the Mail Call. A throwback to when the veterans were deployed and waited anxiously each day to see if letters had arrived from home, on that day cards and letters from family and friends expressing their appreciation and thanks for their service were distributed. Rollie received so much mail at Mail Call that he was able to receive/read only a portion of the mail he received on the flight. The rest of the mail came home with him to read/appreciate later.
Upon return to Milwaukee, the veterans were greeted by friends and family members during a parade with bands, cheerleaders, and honor guard units.
Banner note: Our thanks to the author, who indicated that they wished to remain anonymous.