Memories of World War II still fresh for Honor Flight Veteran
At the age of 94, with feet so bad that they took him off the front lines of the infantry in World War II, Raymond Judson was anticipating a day-long tour of Washington D.C. this coming Sunday with the joy of a kid on vacation.
“They feed us, they do everything for us and it does not cost us anything,” he said Thursday. “There is an organization that does this and they are wonderful.”
That organization, Honor Flight Network, answered a three-year campaign by Richard Rosenzweig for a flight from Fort Lauderdale’s airport. That flight is slated to leave Sunday at around 7 a.m. because, said the Century Village resident and District 3 commissioner, “The 27th happened to be the only day when there were enough seats to fly these veterans out.”
So many of the 15 veterans are frail and in wheel chairs, explained Rosenzweig, himself a veteran of the naval reserve and commander of Post 265 Jewish War Veterans of Deerfield Beach, that “No vet goes without a guardian.”
The group is slated to spend much of the day at Arlington National Cemetery. For Judson, who was drafted as a replacement in 1943 and part of the 87th Infantry Division at the Battle of the Bulge, a surprise German offensive that saw 80,000 Americans killed, injured or captured on the snowy fields of South Germany between December of 1944 and January 1945, the Washington trip was a rare return to a difficult memory.
“I’ll be getting together with other GIs who were overseas in World War II. I’ll fraternize a bit with them, go sightseeing and see the World War II Memorial,” he said. “I’ll see the [Arlington National] cemetery and memorials for Iwo Jima and Viet Nam.”
How vivid are those memories, almost 70 years later?
Judson paused. ‘It’s still a loss of buddies and the death and the people who are displaced and the slave labor camps and all of that,” he said finally. “That doesn’t go away from your mind. Human beings being tortured – you never really forget it…”