A hero’s welcome: Honoring WWII veterans Friday

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — World War II veterans from the Triad plan to attend the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va. on Friday. The event will commemorate 70 years since that day when more than 9,000 allied soldiers died.

“Seventy years ago, our WWII veterans were 20 years old now they are in the twilight of their lives,” said Jeff Sims, organizer of the D-Day Honor Trip. The trip will transport the veterans on five buses to Bedford and bring them home Friday afternoon to a hero’s welcome. “For our WWII veterans this is going to, quite honestly, the highlight of the day.”

The buses are expected to leave Hanes Mall parking lot (outside the Food Court) around 7 a.m. Friday with Winston-Salem firefighters saluting them and erecting an American flag with two 70-foot ladder trucks.

“That’s the greatest generation,” said Tad Byrum, assistant fire chief. “They went through the depression and WWII and I think it’s the least we can do for them.”

The buses will return to the Hanes Mall parking lot around 6 p.m. and organizers hope a cheering crowd of thousands will be present.

“Give them the welcome home they really never got,” said Sims. “Show them the love and appreciation deserving to them.”

Organizers are asking the public to start assembling around 5 p.m. outside the Food Court of Hanes Mall.