WWII Veteran Walking Across America from Georgia to California

(CNN) — A 95-year-old American hero is walking across the country for the second time. .

Ernest Andrus began his journey in Saint Simons Island, Georgia on March 16.

He says he plans to make it through every state in the country.

The last time he did this, it took him two years.

Right now, he’s covering 13 miles a week and says he would be 100 by the time he’s done.

But Andrus said he’ll keep going for as long as he has to, and he’s doing so with a clear purpose in mind.

“We should know that freedom is not free and what it takes to keep this country free. We were called on to do our part and generations before us all had to do their part and the future generations are probably going to have to do their part,” he says.

You can learn more about ernie’s run at coast2coastruns.com.

90-year-old mother watches Vietnam veteran son get proper welcome at Fresno airport

As the bright light on the screen grew, a 90-year-old mother leaned on a silver pillar inside Fresno Yosemite International Airport in California and peered over to watch the airplane prepare to land.

“They’re here,” Carolyn Walker thought to herself in that moment.

Among the 68 former military men returning on the 19th Central Valley Honor Flight trip from Washington D.C., was Walker’s son.

She’s remains so proud of him.

Her son, 68-year-old John Walker, served as a crew chief during the Vietnam War in 1970 and ’71.

a man standing in front of a crowd of people: John Walker, 68, and his mother Carolyn, 90, of Visalia, hug each other after John Walker arrived Wednesday, May 15, 2019, from a three-day trip to Washington, D.C. war memorials as part of the 19th Central Valley Honor Flight. Walker is an Air Force veteran.

© Cresencio Rodriguez-Delgado/Fresno Bee/TNS John Walker, 68, and his mother Carolyn, 90, of Visalia, hug each other after John Walker arrived Wednesday, May 15, 2019, from a three-day trip to Washington, D.C. war memorials as part of the 19th Central Valley Honor Flight. Walker is an Air Force veteran.

And this time, Carolyn Walker had plenty of company to help welcome these veterans home with a long tunnel of family and friends waiting.

Decades after that war — an unpopular one to a contingent of anti-war Americans at the time — the men who had landed this week were getting a different kind of welcome.

But this one was filled with hugs and honor, not resentment.

“I can’t even tell you how wonderful it was to be able to hug him,” the older Walker said. “They were so mistreated when they came home, and to have them now, watch all these people who are thanking their veterans, it’s really amazing.”

The special trip takes veterans to see war memorials that honor the men and women who made sacrifices to fight for their country.

The group that arrived this week was made up of only Vietnam veterans.

When the first men came within view of the massive assembly that was the cue for the supporters to cheer and wave miniature American flags to surprise the veterans.

John Walker couldn’t believe it.

“There’s a lot of emotion that is hidden over the last 40 or 50 years that this helps bring out,” he said.

He found his mother and sister Jean Hardy, 64, along the way and stepped out of the procession to hug them.

The family, whose patriarch was a World War II prisoner of war, traveled from Visalia for the homecoming.

When Walker arrived from Vietnam at Travis Air Force Base decades ago, the welcome wasn’t extravagant like this week’s.

Carolyn Walker said she didn’t even know when her son had arrived or how he had returned.

“I had no way of welcoming him home till later,” she said.

She worried for him when he was away.

“I prayed all the time. I still do,” she added. “It’s sad, what we saw before.”

John Walker said he and his fellow veterans were treated “like royalty” during the trip. A special touch to the trip was a batch of letters he got from students, which he began to read on his way back to Fresno, Calif.

All those years when he’d felt disappointed about the manner in which some Americans treated him for being a Vietnam veteran were no match to the patriotism he witnessed in the three days away, he said.

“I read about 30 letters, just cried the whole time.”

This, Walker said, is the only homecoming that matters.


©2019 The Fresno Bee (Fresno, Calif.)

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99-year-old WWII Veteran Gets Birthday Wish to Walk Across Stage at Commencement

After nearly 70 years, World War II veteran Elizabeth Barker Johnson is getting her wish for her 99th birthday — the chance to walk across the stage at graduation. (Credit: WSSU)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. (FOX 46 CHARLOTTE) – A North Carolina World War II veteran is getting her wish for her 99th birthday — the chance to walk across the stage at graduation.

In 1943, Elizabeth Barker Johnson made history. She enlsited in the U.S Army, becoming a member of the 6888th regiment, the only all-female, African American Women’s Army Corps battalion to serve overseas during World War II.

After the war, she made history again as the first woman to enroll at Winston-Salem Teachers College, now Winston-Salem State University, on the GI Bill. She earned a degree in education in August 1949.

Nearly 70 years after earning her degree, she’s getting her wish.

The World War II veteran was surprised at a 99th birthday party with a gift from her alma mater, a WSSU red cap and gown that she will wear at the ceremony at Winston-Salem’s Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum, where she’ll share the stage with Rams from the class of 2019.

“I’m going to think I’m dreaming,” Johnson said.

Johnson started teaching in Virginia immediately after graduating from WSSU. She couldn’t find someone to substitute for her on graduation day, so she missed the commencement ceremony.

In addition to serving her country, Johnson taught public school for 18 years, the bulk of her time in North Carolina.

“From serving her country during World War II to impacting the lives of hundreds of students as a classroom teacher in North Carolina and Virginia, PFC Elizabeth Barker Johnson is the embodiment of Winston-Salem State’s motto, ‘Enter to Learn. Depart to Serve,’ ” said Elwood L. Robinson, WSSU chancellor. “We are inspired by her and excited to give her the opportunity, 70 years later, to finally walk across stage for commencement.”  

She’s set to walk on May 10. Congratulations!

Why Valor Shield?

Valor Shield, Inc., a non-profit for the support and inspiration to those veterans that have been disadvantaged by not being able to readjust to civilian life after being honorably discharged from active service. and their families. As they plan, establish, and strive to achieve life and career goals, with the intent and hope that they will be able to develop and continue to lead fulfilling, satisfying, and productive lives.