Veterans Tour WWII Museum in New Orleans

People across the nation will honor our veterans next Tuesday on Veterans Day, but some south Mississippi veterans got a head start on the holiday observance.

Dozens of local veterans from as far back as WWII joined forces Wednesday and toured the WWII Museum in New Orleans. South Mississippi veterans received a patriotic send off as they gathered for a mission, a mission that would take them to the WWII Museum in New Orleans, where sights and sounds would take them back in time, some memories too close for comfort. Ray Irby, a WWII veteran, 1st Calvary Division, says, "It brought back memories of when we was there. It was extremely realistic. You’re right there on the front lines in a lot of these sims, and you remember all those things that you wanted to forget."

Actual war planes, including the iconic B-52 bomber, hovered overhead as veterans below shared in a brotherhood only experience like theirs could bring about. Laurence "Larry" Yarborough, another WWII veteran, U.S. Marines, says, "I’ve enjoyed it thoroughly, seeing the other guys. There aren’t too many of us left."

Nearly half a million soldiers sent to fight for our freedom in WWII didn’t come home. Of the lucky few that did, time is starting to take them from us. These are the members of what’s known as "the greatest generation," and they have a story to tell if you’re willing to listen. Irby also says, "We went island to island up to Japan, and in the Philippines before the bomb was dropped. We were preparing to go and we knew what we would be confronted with when we landed."

Yarborough also says, "Young fellow, when I was over in China for occupation, duty asked me, he said, ‘Larry, where are all those brave Marines you told me about? All you guys talk about is how scared you were.’ And I said, ‘That’s them, you do what you had to do.’”

Irby also says, "I hope the youth will never go through what we went through."

Today’s young men and women are the future of the military, but with these veterans as their heroes, they know they have some big shoes to fill. Dylan Reinsmith, Second Lieutenant of Biloxi High School’s J.R.O.T.C., says, "Every veteran here has a story of his own, and I just hope that I can make my story where it’s great enough to be in these halls, in a museum like this."

Riemann Funeral Homes sponsored Wednesday’s tour.

Categories: Local News, News

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