Two Roanoke veterans celebrated at the return of Honor Flight

Jack Cassell and Louis Silcox have been friends for 80 years

After a two-year hiatus, Honor Flights are back.

BEDFORD, Va. – After a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic, Honor Flight is back. This weekend, Central and Southwest Virginia Honor Flight is sending veterans to Washington, D.C., at no cost to them.

On Friday morning, 12 veterans got a tour of the National D-Day Memorial before setting out for the trip of a lifetime. They got to hear the history of the memorial. Of course, they have plenty of stories of their own.

“You watch them get younger. I don’t know how else to phrase it. You will watch them get younger. They start out very quiet and reserved but once they start talking with each other, they open up,” said Martin Leamy, the President/ and CEO of Central and Southwest Virginia Honor Flight.

Two of the veterans won’t have to get to know each other. They’ve been friends for 80 years. Jack Cassell and Louis Silcox grew up across the street from each other in Roanoke. Both served in World War II and Korea.

“I went up there in 2019 and I came back and told him about it and he’s been on my back ever since,” said Cassell.

Silcox was worried his mobility would be an issue while visiting Washington, D.C., but Cassell convinced him otherwise.

“I was a little skittish. My buddy there Jack went on, and came back and told me I’d have no trouble at all,” explained Silcox.

After years of serving our country, and decades of friendship, they get to be thanked and recognized together.

The veterans will return to Bedford Sunday afternoon, but the activities won’t stop there as they will have a celebration upon their return.


About the Author:

Alyssa Rae grew up in Roanoke and graduated from Virginia Tech. An avid sports fan, she spent her first 8 years in TV as a sports anchor and reporter.