World War II veterans honored with a drive-thru birthday parade in Dunedin

For four Bay Area World War II veterans, Saturday afternoon was a birthday celebration unlike any other. More than 200 cars lined the streets in Dunedin on Saturday for a special drive-by birthday party. The non-profit organization Honor Flight organized the event to honor veterans since flights to Washington, D.C. are still on hold. 

Honks and cheers could be heard one after another Saturday outside the Dunedin VFW.

"This is just overwhelming. I can't believe it," WWII veteran Vern Cummings said.

Cars lined the street with balloons and decorations all to celebrate the birthdays of four Bay Area World War II veterans.

"They're so important to us and so is the freedom they gave to us. We want to honor them whenever we can," Honor Flight of West Central Florida Vice-President John Tornga said.

Tornga helped organized Saturday's drive-thru birthday party. Two of the veterans being celebrated are honor flight ambassadors but have been unable to fly since the beginning of the pandemic.

"Because of the virus, they couldn't make the flights any longer. I miss it. I miss it," WWII Veteran Bill King said.

With flights on hold, Tornga says he wanted to do something special to celebrate them.

"We just want to honor them in place due to the pandemic that's occurring and we've just been unable to get close to them or talk to them or even touch them," Tornga said.

More than 200 cars made their way through. Some residents stopped to deliver gifts and wish all four veterans a happy birthday.

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"I just couldn't believe it. I still can't. I'm active in the honor flight program and a lot of them are here and it's good to see them," Cummings said.

Cummings, a WWII vet who served in the Navy, turns 95 this month. He's one of the Honor Flight's most active members and says he's looking forward to flights resuming.

"It's a great organization and I'm very proud of the honor flight program," Cummings said.


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