When World War II veteran Dixie Harris visits Fox Elementary, he gets a rock star greeting. Students crowd around him for photos, then ask for autographs.
“These are all my grandkids,” he said. Harris has spoken at the school several times about his experiences in WWII and surviving the Pearl Harbor attack and the students have written him letters asking questions.
On Wednesday, the students gave back by donating nearly $300 in honor of Harris to sponsor other WWII veterans going on the West Georgia Honor Flight.
The flight takes veterans to Washington for one day to visit to the National World War II Memorial, the Korean and Vietnam memorials, the Marine Corps War Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery.
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Harris, who will go on Friday’s flight, thanked the students for their donation and said their letters to him are “treasured possessions.”
“You’ve made a supreme sacrifice by giving up your ice creams and Cokes,” he said. “You are great patriots. You are the future of our country.”
Fourth-graders Zaynah Smith and David Gray presented Harris and West Georgia Honor Flight chairman Royce Ard with a check for $297.23. Ard said it costs about $400 to pay for a T-shirt, hat, lunch and the bus ride for a veteran on the trip.
“He was brave and fought for our country. He is also a very nice man,” Smith said of Harris. “I said he was the bravest person on earth,” Gray said.
Sara Pauff, 706-320-4469