Written by Juliana Simone
May 26th, 2012
Windsor Locks – One hundred World War II Veteran’s flew into Bradley Field Saturday evening after spending a day in Washington, D.C. as part of an annual excursion put on by American Warrior, a non profit organization founded in 2007 by CT State Representative and veteran Christopher Coutu. Though the plane carrying the veterans landed over an hour late, family, friends and intrigued onlookers welcomed them home heartily despite the wait. Coutu, who was seeking the second congressional district nomination from his party this month to challenge democrat incumbent Joe Courtney, has now withdrawn from this race and set his sights on the state senate seat which is open in the nineteenth district due to the end of session retirement from long term democrat legislator Edith Prague. In good spirits and clearly proud to be with his fellow soldiers, Coutu got off the plane with the jubilant veterans and encouraged the large crowd to chant along with him, “U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A.” and other inspiring cheers.
The trip involves taking 100 selected World War II veterans to places in our nation’s capitol such as the WWII Memorial and other monuments which many living retired armed forces men and women have never seen. A chartered airbus flies the group down for the day. Veterans apply for the opportunity to attend each year.
Speaking with a WWII veteran who was able to participate in this event in 2011, he recalled his two year service in the Philippines and how he learned as a soldier he would be landing in Manila. He was grateful he didn’t see much action. Last year, he was lucky to take part in the trip because someone close to him had to drop out and he took his place. Tonight he was at Bradley field to cheer on his brothers in arms recognizing what they just experienced and wanting to be part of it.
Another woman from neighboring MA said she was watching this event because her baggage had been lost and she and her friend were told to wait and see if it came in on one of the next planes now that the airline was aware of the mishap. She told Ameriborn News that she was a registered democrat but often voted Republican. She said her father would roll over in his grave if she were to ever change her voter registration.
A flag carrying veteran from Simsbury told Ameriborn News that he had not voted in some time but was a Republican. He said he could not vote for McCain despite the fact he was a fellow serviceman and was not inspired by most people who ran for office. When asked, he was clear on who our last sitting Presidents were who served in the military saying, George Bush, I and II. In his view, veterans became something else once they were politicians and so could no longer support them. When asked as a veteran why he would not want someone who had actually experienced military life and time on the battlefield to represent him, he had to think about this. We cited Florida Congressman Allen West as a good example of a former veteran and excellent legislator he would probably support, and shared some background with him about West to which he responded favorably. He said he was not supportive of the tea party.
Coming off the plane, the local Fife and Drum moved the crowd with their entrance, colonial music and revelry. Following the band were our fine WWII veterans now in 2012 all at least 85 years in age. Those in wheel chairs were pushed by family members or close friends enjoying the moment and those walking proudly still had a wink for the crowd or joke or two to share with the enthusiasts engaging them in conversation and thanking them for their service. Of the 100 veterans participating this year, one veteran was a female who received extra cheers when Chris Coutu pointed this out as she came up in the line. This commemorative event makes Memorial Day very moving and significant for both our veterans and fellow Americans who understand what their participation means in the history of our country. God Bless our soldiers.