Active in their 90’s, two Kendall residents joined 63 other World War II and Korean War veterans for a first-time visit to World War II memorials in the nation’s capital on May 30.
“The most fantastic moment of my lifetime,” recalled Paul Herzog, 90, one of two residents of The Palace Suites of Kendall along with Sylvia Weinstein, 95.
“The Iwo Jima monument was most impressive to me,” added Weinstein, a former Marine Corps paymaster sergeant who served at Corps headquarters in Arlington, VA, in 1943-44.
Most significant for Herzog was “the extent of work and effort this volunteer group performed in our behalf, from our boarding the Eastern flight in Miami to our return home with crowds greeting us all the way,” a tribute equally voiced by Weinberg about Honor Flights, noting,
“It was everything you could have wished for — and more.”
“Even before leaving, we received a package of 150 letters of congratulations from politicians, residents, students, congratulating us.
Nothing could have been any better organized and handled,” Herzog said of Honor Flight South Florida, the federal non-profit based in Plantation that transports veterans able to get on a plane and ride a bus to visit Washington, DC, monuments honoring their service.
A U.S. Army veteran who served in the Coastal Artillery, Herzog saw action both in Hawaii and Peleliu as a radar operator during two and one half years’ service following his enlistment in New York in 1943.
“The Battle of Peleliu was generally thought to have been unnecessary in postwar years,” reflected Herzog who received a combat medal for his service in the South Pacific. “It was part of a strategy to return MacArthur to the Philippines, but that sixmile strip of island just two miles wide cost us 12,000 casualties.”
For 30 years a resident of The Crossings, Herzog was the owner of Kendall Graphics Company before becoming a resident of The Palace Suites, 11355 SW 84 St., an independent senior living community.
A Palace resident for nine years, Ms. Weinstein, a graduate of the Eastman School of Music of Rochester, NY, continues singing today, even as she once appeared as a soloist with the U.S. Marine Corps Band in WWII days when off duty.
“My parents weren’t very happy about my enlisting but they were pleased after I met my husband, a Navy man,” she laughed.
A former resident of Palmetto Bay, she is the widow of the late Dr. Norman Weinberg who was instrumental in founding the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, located on the Rickenbacker Causeway.
Still active with mahjong, bridge, singing and twice-a-day exercising, Weinberg was “busy today with my class in flower arranging.”
Begun in Springfield, OH, 10 years ago by a WWII vet who wanted others to visit service-related memorials, Honor Flights has expanded to 130 non-profit groups nationwide raising funds and enlisting sponsors to provide the free trips.
Top priority is given to America’s most senior heroes of World War II and those with a terminal illness, a work-in-progress expected to transition to Korean War, Vietnam War and all other veterans who have served their country, according to the organization’s website. For more information, call 1-855-FLY-1- VET (855-359-1838) or visit firstname.lastname@example.org.
For details about The Palace Suites, call 305-271-2225 or visit www.thepalace.org.