Veteran encourages other vets to enjoy Honor Flight trip when they can
Now both Dick Morrill and Kilroy have been there.Morrill, a World War II Navy veteran from Carson City, recalls with joy in his voice the recent Honor Flight trip from Reno to the East Coast and urges other vets to go if possible. The 85-year-old retired salesman was on the first Honor Flight from Northern Nevada a week ago.“We had a super time and the people who ran the thing from here were excellent,” Morrill said Friday at the Carson City Senior Center. “I would recommend it to any World War II veteran.”Morrill, a salesman with AAA (American Automobile Association) in California before he and his spouse retired in 1989 to Nevada’s capital, served as a naval radar trainer in 1945-46. His spouse died in 2010.A highlight of the trip, he said, is for service people to see Washington, D.C., memorials honoring them, including the World War II Memorial. Standing there, you also can see the nearby Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument, he added.“You can see them both from there and it was gorgeous,” he said. But his respect for such sites didn’t turn off his sense of humor. He chuckled, then said: “We even got to see where ‘Kilroy’ had been there already.”“Kilroy was here” became part of pop culture during World War II. There is an engraving at the World War II Memorial featuring the saying, plus the distinctive doodle of a bald-headed man, his hands and outsized nose over a wall, that became associated with GIs in the 1940s.Other sites included the Vietnam Memorial Wall, the Korean Memorial, the memorials for service branches, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and a trip to Arlington National Cemetery. “That was mind-boggling,” he said.The flight actually went from Reno to Baltimore, Md., where the group stayed. The cadre of veterans and those traveling with them were bused to the nation’s capital. Their return flight was from Baltimore to Reno.“Gov. (Brian) Sandoval was aboard and he flew back from Baltimore with us,” said Morrill. “I couldn’t believe how many people were there to greet us at the Reno airport.” Honor Flights have been under way nationwide since 2005, but this was the first from Nevada. Another is planned soon from the southern sector of the state, with a third expected next Spring from Northern Nevada. Morrill said it will be in April or May, depending on fundraising for the program. The Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization that has served more than 80,000 veterans so far.