WWII veteran siblings reunite in Bradley County
Two WWII veterans, who are also brother and sister, meet for the first time in Cleveland after five years apart.
It's been five years since 97-year-old Lucille hall Johnson last saw her only living brother, 95-year-old Harold Robert Hall on his birthday.
Travel being limited for medical reasons has kept the two apart; but, thanks to Angel’s Aviation of Hope and Luke’s Wings, they shared a memorable moment Thursday at the Gardens Plaza, where Harold lives.
Thanks to technology the two have stayed close.
“We talk every day and I don’t think we've missed in a year," Harold said.
The siblings both served in the military during World War II, and this isn't the first time the two have been apart.
Lucille was a member of Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF), served under General Eisenhower in London, Versailles, and Frankfort. She also traveled to England on the Queen Mary.
Harold enlisted in the Royal Canadian Air Force in 1939. In 1940, he was sent to England and joined the Royal Air Force, with the 11th Fighter Group. In three years he shot down 11 Nazis, and was forced to bail out over the English Channel. He left the RAF in 1942 and signed up with the US Army Air Corp.
On D Day, he dropped paratroopers over Normandy. Harold was called again to serve during the Korean War, and flew F105's. He also flew bombing missions over Vietnam in B52's.
"I spent a lot of years away from her; but, we were together in Paris," Harold said.
It wasn't until Lucille was honorably discharged in 1945 when she saw her brother for the first time in years. Now at 97, the family has struggled finding flights short enough to accommodate Lucille's health.
Thursday, after a call from Lucille’s son, Leland Johnson, the partnership between Angels Aviation of Hope and Luke's Wings made the impossible possible.
"We do it because we just like to help people out," Angles Aviation of Hope pilot Dick Miller said.
After hearing the sibling's story, Miller volunteered to fly Lucille from her home in Muskegon, Michigan to Cleveland. Angels Aviation of Hope normally only helps people fly long distances for medical needs, but the organization wanted to do something special for the siblings to say thank you for their devotion to our country.
"They're older people, a little older than me, and it's interesting what they've done in the military,” Miller said. “I'm an ex-marine, (I) just have feelings for the military people."
It was a gesture that brought this family together perhaps one last time.
“This is all a surprise,” Lucille said. “We had no idea they were planning this."
The siblings will spend the weekend together in Cleveland before Lucille flies back on Sunday.