This is for my friend John Seelie, who will be 93 on November 25th. He is a WWII Vet, a Pearl Harbor Survivor, and a living national treasure.
This picture was taken on December 2, 2014 at 4:50 am as John was greeted outside his home. He was beginning his 2014 journey to Hawaii for the 73rd Anniversary of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.
Unforutnately, we found out that his trip to Hawaii planned for this year, the 74th Anniversary, through The Greatest Generation Foundation, has been cancelled. In order to make the trip feasible, 6 survivors must be able to make the trip. Unfortunately, they only have 4 survivors healthy enough to do so, including John.
You should know that John had been looking forward to this trip all year. It's really all he has talked about since he returned from a trip to Guam that he took in January (through The Greatest Generation Foundation). When his daughter informed him that the trip was cancelled, his words to her were "you've taken the wind right out of my sails". To say this broke her heart is an understatement.
I believe (and I hope you do too) that John deserves to go back for the 74th anniversary (and honestly, to every anniversary as long as his health permits). He has earned it.
Now, I realize it's expensive. And the reality is John and I have limited funds. I am willing to go with John, to assist him, while flying economy (I hope to be able to fly John first class), and contribute as much of my own funds as I can afford, however, I need help.
I have been in contact with the Veteran Coordinator in Hawaii that indicated that discounted rooms and transportation (rental cars) are still available. However, they advised that we book our flights and rooms ASAP. I have also reached out to various airlines to donate a flight for John, so far with no success.
Everyone that meets John is inspired by his sharp mind and great sense of humor. I myself met John a couple of years ago at a restaurant that hosts a Cleveland Browns Backers club. We are both avid Cleveland Browns fans (yes we, along with all the Browns Backers in Englewood, Florida, try to watch challenging football every week)!!!!!!!!!!
As everyone in the group got to know John, his life story, and his incredible details of that time so long ago, the more we appreciated the fact that hearing these stories from the men who witnessed and participated in them, will soon be a bygone day, left only to reading about them in history books. This made us appreciate him even more.
This season as we gather every football Sunday, when you look at John you can't help but notice lipstick on his cheeks from the waitstaff that love to give him kisses (see below)!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Many men are honored to shake Johns hands when he arrives. The female fans and staff greet him with warm hugs and plant more lipstick on him - he just smiles (and flirts!!!!!). He is loved and appreciated by many!
No Pearl Harbor Survivor should ever be left behind because of lack of support or number of survivors. These incredible men and women deserve our support. I have never posted anything anywhere asking people for help for anyone else or to help someone live out a journey such as this.
74 years ago John was there for all of America. Today we need to be there for him. We need to show him how much we appreciate his unselfish act of enlisting in the Army so that he could protect the freedoms that we enjoy today.
Mike Cahill, Friend of John Seelie Lynda Seelie, Daughter
Thanks for all your help. John will be leaving Honolulu tonight!