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EJHS aids Honor Flight vets

Junior Historians raise money to send veterans to D.C.
“Good evening, Mr. and Mrs. America and all the ships at sea. Let’s go to press.”
Many families living in Ennis listened to these words when World War II began to affect the town.
Ennis saw many war heroes come and go between 1941 and 1945, but until now little has been done to thank them for the freedoms they gave the community, state, and country.
At Ennis Junior High School, students are bringing in their loose change to raise money for an honorable cause, just as students did over 60 years ago.
The eagerness reflected in their eyes can be compared to those of children raising money for war bonds during the Second World War. Ironically, the money being raised today is going to fund Honor Flight of Ellis County, the group that’s sending local veterans of that conflict to Washington D.C to visit the memorial erected in their honor there in 2004.
The students at the 501 N. Gaines campus –– which was Ennis High School at the time these veterans were young men –– recently listened to a live radio broadcast of President Roosevelt’s famous speech that told the citizens of the United States they were entering the war with Germany and its allies.
EJHS students learned that from that moment in 1941, the lives of millions, including the men, women and children of Ennis and Ellis County, would never be the same. Instantly, the people of Ennis were thrown into action. Men went off to war. Women set out to find jobs that benefited the war effort. Because the troops needed food, victory gardens were grown in people’s backyards, and children helped tend to them. Bottles, cans, and newspapers were collected and taken to a reclamation station. But the most popular method of contributing to the war effort was to purchase war bonds. The “Series E” war bond came on the market in 1941, and cost only 75 percent of their face value. Most families made it a point to purchase a war bond or two; even elementary school children could purchase their own savings bonds. Students were urged to collect quarters and redeem them for stamps. Boys and girls filled booklets with the stamps, and when they had collected $18.75, or 75 stamps, they turned the booklets into the post office. One received a $25 bond after turning in their booklet. Most schools in Ennis participated in this charity.
Today Ennis has a way to again show their appreciation for World War II veterans. The national Honor Flight program, of which the Ennis-based branch is the first from Texas, was originally established in January 2005, soon after the World War II monument in Washington D.C. was completed. Earl Morse, a physician’s assistant and retired Air Force pilot, wanted to honor the veterans he had so often cared for. Morse asked one of his veteran patients if he could personally fly him to D.C., free of charge, to visit the monument. A second man was asked later that week, and soon afterward, over 11 men had agreed to go on the trip. Elsewhere in the country, others had similar ideas without knowing one other. Finally they teamed up and formed Honor Flight. By raising money to send veterans to visit the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C., branches across the U.S. are showing vets that the problems of today aren’t more important than making sure these heroes’ contributions to freedom over 60 years ago are acknowledged.
At the Ennis Junior High School, the Junior Historian Society and FCA are proud to lead the school in a fundraiser that will send Ennis WWII veterans to Washington. Students are asked to bring in loose change to raise money for Honor Flight of Ellis County’s visit to Washington in May. Although the program is only running for one six week period, it has been a tremendous success.
With articles in the Ennis Daily News raising awareness, many people have been touched by Honor Flight’s cause, and are eager to help. Times have definitely changed between 1941 and today, and yet, have they? The same outpouring of support for the troops of World War II has taken root again. EJHS students say they can hardly imagine the pride the men of Honor Flight will feel when their plane touches down in Washington, D.C. They also say they take pride in knowing that over half a century ago students in the very building in which they attend classes today raised money for many of the same soldiers who are now part of Honor Flight.

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Posted by on Feb 27 2008. Filed under News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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