Honor Flight vet’s birthday lands on day of departure

PHOENIX, Ore, — Twenty five southern Oregon veterans are heading to Washington D.C. this week with Honor Flight of Oregon.

“I think that it is very wonderful that the group does this for veterans,” Bill Shrader, Honor Flight participant, said.

44 years after leaving the U.S. Coast Guard, Bill Shrader is joining southern Oregon’s Honor Flight group Thursday, on the trip of a lifetime.

The day holds special meaning to Shrader. The day he leaves for Washington D.C. also happens to be his 83rd birthday.

“One of the things that we are going to do is to lay a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier, which in my estimation is, would be the highlight of any trip to Washington,” Shrader said.

Honor Flight aims to make sure every World War II and Korean War veteran gets to see our nation’s capital and honor those who served alongside them at no cost to the veterans.

“This is kind of a special treat,” Shrader said.

Shrader served in the coast guard for over 20 years. He also served during both the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

“We lived all over the world,” Shrader said.

The Grants Pass native, his wife and his five children lived in the Philippines, England and all over Europe and Asia.

“It was a long way from Grants Pass,” Shrader said.

Shrader said he hasn’t been to D.C. since the 60’s. But he’s excited to go back with others, who made the same sacrifices that he did.

“I lived in Washington D.C. but many, many, many years ago. And there are all these new monuments. World War II, the Vietnam, and the Korean monuments are all brand new. I’ve never seen those and I am looking forward to it,” Shrader said.

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