Oct. 4, 2012
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Walking in the shadows of heroes

Story and photos by Tom Campbell

Ralph Green

At the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., Pam Jones gave Ralph Green a hug and a handshake to thank him for his military service during the war.  (Purdue Agricultural Communication photo/Tom Campbell) 
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World War II veteran and retired Purdue faculty member Ralph Green, MS ’50, PhD ’54, wasn’t sure how to handle the adulation. All day long, young and old approached Green with an open hand and an open heart.

“Thank you so much for your service,” Pam Jones said with a hug and a handshake. “I’m so proud of you.”

“It might be hard just to be a normal person tomorrow,” Green said to Jones, a tour guide from Annapolis, Md.

On Sept. 24, Green, 89, and 78 other World War II veterans flew to Washington, D.C., to visit the National World War II Memorial, revive memories of the war and accept the gratitude of a thankful nation, represented by people such as Jones.

The Honor Flight was arranged by Dana Vann and Pam Mow, Lafayette Gold Star Mothers who lost sons in military conflict. The group organized the flight and raised $67,000 through local sponsorships to pay for the veterans to get to Washington to receive their due recognition before it is too late.

“They are dying at the rate of about 1,100 a day,” said Mow, an administrative assistant in Purdue’s Department of Botany and Plant Pathology and an Army veteran herself.

“We need to honor them before they are all gone.”

This is the second flight the group has sponsored, with another scheduled for October.

The story of Green, Mow and the Honor Flight to Washington will be relived in the next issue of Purdue Agriculture Connections. We thought you would enjoy viewing this sneak peek of their special day. Contact Mow at INGoldStarMoms@comcast.net

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