It was a once in a lifetime experience for PebbleCreek resident Bob Sherman when he joined 93 fellow World War II veterans for a whirlwind tour of Washington D.C. in September. The trip was sponsored and paid for by Stars and Stripes Honor Flight, a nonprofit organization dedicated to flying World War II and terminally ill veterans from all wars, to the nation’s capital to see their memorials.
Bob began his service in WWII when he joined the Merchant Marine at only 16 years old and he was based in Salerno, Italy. A year later he enlisted in the Army and after the war he continued with the Reserves. Because he was, as he says, “just a punk” when he started his military service, Bob was one of the youngest veterans on the Washington tour.
His daughter, Kathryn Rowen of Wisconsin, nominated Bob for the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight and accompanied him on the tour which took them to all of the major war memorials as well as to Arlington National Cemetery. Bob says that as they stood at the World War II Memorial he wished that his older brothers and buddies from the war, who have since passed away, could have been there with him and he accepted the honor on their behalf.
It was a long day, both emotionally and physically, but the experience did not stop when they got back on the airplane. Once the charter flight reached the airport where the tour began, the veterans were greeted by thousands of people, cheering and waving flags in a long overdue heroes’ welcome. And to make this one of the best days of his life, there were 40 members of Bob’s family and friends within the crowd.
Kathryn says she is grateful to have shared the Honor Flight experience with her father and she now has pictures to “show my son that his incredibly humble grandfather is truly a real life hero.” She adds that he is part of the Greatest Generation of men and women who just did what they had to do to save the world.
Perhaps this can do attitude is why people in PebbleCreek come to Bob Sherman when they need help with a project. He has created some of ShowTime’s most unusual props, including two television studio cameras that could have been borrowed from CBS. Resident Choreographer Karyn Horst says he always looks for the solution to a problem rather than saying it cannot be done and he “is one of the most giving, caring and unselfish people I know.” Veteran ShowTime Director Judi Alonzo says “you can always count on him.”
However, Bob is more modest about his achievements saying “it’s just what you did and you wanted to” because “every day is a bonus.”
For more information about the local Honor Flight program go to www.honorflightaz.org.