On Tuesday, I followed 82 World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., as they participated in the Upstate Honor Flight. My favorite photograph, which ran on the front page of The Greenville News, is of Fred Rector. In the photograph, he places his hand over his heart while standing at the the WWII Memorial.
Mr. Rector told me the story of how he was captured and interrogated by the Germans. I just stood quietly, in shock, and listened. At this point his guardian, the volunteer in charge of looking out for his well-being throughout the trip, noticed my very German name. I explained that, yes, my grandparents had come over from Germany, but that they were Jewish. They had been forced to flee their homes. Mr. Rector paused and reached out his hand. I walked alongside his wheelchair - the two of us hand in hand - back to our bus.