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Veterans eager for Honor
By Amy Mack | Daily Herald Columnist

With memories of Pearl Harbor still vivid, Navy veteran Charlie May, who was on board the U.S.S. Phoenix, is eager to see the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C.


Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

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Published: 6/11/2008 12:07 AM

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Almost 67 years after surviving the "Day of Infamy" -- and long before most of us rolled out of bed this morning -- Huntley resident Charlie May was eagerly on his way to Midway Airport well before dawn.

It's guaranteed he didn't mind the early wake-up call.

In fact, it was way overdue.

Charlie -- a survivor of Pearl Harbor -- and fellow World War II veteran, Paul Sellers of Elgin, are making a special trek to a special place today. They are on board an Honor Flight, one of dozens of special flights making sure World War II veterans get to visit the long-delayed memorial to World War II in Washington, D.C., before they die.

Conceived by a retired Air Force pilot, the idea blossomed and grew the past couple of years into a nationwide effort to make sure those World War II vets get to see the long-delayed memorial to some of this nation's most difficult days.

The memorial visit truly is an honor, Charlie, 85, told me as he readied for today. "I'm looking forward to it," he said. "I've heard it really is quite magnificent and I just wanted to see it."

Honor flights

The Honor Flight Network flights are free for all veterans on a first come, first served basis, with World War II and terminally ill veterans getting priority, then Korean War and Vietnam War vets. Eventually, the honor flights hope to honor all veterans from all wars.

The effort is funded by private individual and group donations. They do not, however, accept any money from the World War II vets. The rest of us are welcome to help -- and how can we not? Call (937) 521-2400 or vosot If you are or you know a World War II veteran who'd like to see the memorial, you'll find all you need to know at the site.

If you can't access the application, call me at (847) 931-5725, and I'll get it for you.

What a great way to say thank you to those who put themselves on the line for us.

Mother in need

Zizi Balk could sure use your help.

The mother of two sons has a brain tumor, a Grade II Glioma, that causes extreme headaches and eye pain. She also recently went through a difficult divorce, lost her job and lost her medical insurance.

She's feeling like a walking time bomb, but without health insurance, has not been able to get the MRI's needed every three months to monitor the tumor.

Friend Michelle Farfan and her dad, Tom French of WineStyles in Lake in the Hills, are holding a fundraiser at 8 p.m. Thursday at the wine shop to try to help out.

The wine tasting includes raffles, food, and, of course, wine for $15 per person. Michelle tells me they just got an offer from an orthopedic surgeon to provide free MRI's and someone else may have a job for Zizi. If you can help in any way, please stop by the wine shop at 319 N. Randall Road. Call (847) 458-5200 for more info.

To market, to market

I know where some of you will be Thursday. It's the eagerly awaited opening day for Elgin's Harvest Market where, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., you'll find all sorts of fruits, vegetables, flowers, jams, breads, pies, muffins, scones and more at the Civic Center Parking lot, 120 E. Highland Ave. in Elgin. Take Route 31 south of the tollway to Kimball Street. Go east to Douglas Street, then south on Douglas to Civic Center parking lot entrance on your right.

Shine on

As you may know, relatively unknown Democrat Robert Kaempfe is taking on very popular Republican state Rep. Michael Tryon of Crystal Lake in the November general election. Apparently realizing he's not a household name, Kaempfe's supporters recently alerted the news media that he is installing solar panels on his Crystal Lake home to help promote alternate energy sources.

I'm certainly familiar with and sure appreciate Sunshine laws, which are meant to put the light of day on government activity. But this is the first time I've heard of a politician using the sun to put the spotlight on himself.


You can register to vote at the League of Women Voters voter-registration drive at the Huntley Area Public Library from 1 to 3 p.m. today and Thursday. You'll need two forms of identification, at least one with a current address, one with your name. The library is at 11000 Ruth Road. Call (847) 669-5386 for details. Remember, you can't vote in November if you're not registered.