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Columbia Missourian

FROM READERS: A veteran's trip with Central Missouri Honor Flight

By Missourian Reader Community
July 20, 2012 | 7:00 a.m. CDT
Walter Rolley Jr., seated, was accompanied on his honor flight by longtime friend Jerry Dethrow.

Madeline Rolley shared these photos of her father's trip with the Central Missouri Honor Flight.

The group's website says that Central Missouri Honor Flight is a nonprofit organization dedicated to transporting veterans to Washington D.C., "to visit and reflect at their memorials at no cost to them." Since 2009, more than 1,000 veterans have made the journey. 


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Rolley's father, who will turn 93 in September, is quoted this way in a story in the July issue of Inside Columbia:

“I was amazed to see all those people there that late at night,” says Walter Rolley Jr., (an) Army vet who served in the 92nd Infantry Division, an all-black outfit in Italy. His job was to transport ammunition to the front lines. “I was lucky enough to get there and back,” he says modestly.

Walter Rolley Jr., who served in World War II, was accompanied on the May 8 flight by longtime friend Jerry Dethrow. Madeline Rolley said her father and Dethrow have been friends since the days of segregation, when Dethrow worked at Booche's and her father, who was working two jobs, used to pick up his lunch and then leave the restaurant.

"On this particular day Dad was tired, and he asked him if he could sit down 'cause he was awful tired. Jerry said yes, and he didn't know that black people wasn't allowed to come in a white establishment." Their friendship grew from there.

This story is part of a section of the Missourian called From Readers, which is dedicated to your voices and your stories. We hope you'll consider sharing. Here's how. Supervising editor is Joy Mayer.