A World War II veteran’s dreams take flight

John Thompson and Henry Zimmerman

Flight Instructor John Thompson and Henry Zimmerman after their flight around Stevens Point and Portage County, Wisconsin.

More than a half century after returning from war, he’s back in the air. Harmony Living Centers in Stevens Point recently granted wishes as part of National Assisted Living Week. Wind under his wings and excitement in his voice, 97 year old Henry Zimmerman’s flying high. “I’ve been up in the air, but nothing like this,” he exclaimed.

A World War II Vet, a former paratrooper. Henry’s training was jumping out of planes. But his family says he dreamed of piloting them. “My dad’s wish was always to fly an airplane,” his daughter Rose Ford explained. “He was too tall. That was one of the strikes against him. He was colorblind. That was a strike against him.”

Zimmerman’s dream on that day becoming sort of a reality. He flew with a fellow veteran, Pilot John Thompson. Thompson served in Vietnam and is also a former paratrooper featured in a famous 1960′s photo. “Veterans have a unique experience in life,” Thompson explained. “and it’s something that stays with you all your life. I don’t know about Henry, but I can close my eyes and see some of the stuff I did and where I was. It plays like a videotape.” Strangers with a common bond, the men swap jokes and stare at the countryside below. Just a half hour spent in the air, but for Henry, now a new memory to replay over and over.

PORTAGE COUNTY (WAOW Newsline 9, Wausa

A World War II veteran’s dreams take flight.

More than a half century after returning from war, he’s back in the air. Harmony Living Centers in Stevens Point recently granted wishes as part of National Assisted Living Week. Wind under his wings and excitement in his voice, 97 year old Henry Zimmerman’s flying high. “I’ve been up in the air, but nothing like this,” he exclaimed.

A World War II Vet, a former paratrooper. Henry’s training was jumping out of planes. But his family says he dreamed of piloting them. “My dad’s wish was always to fly an airplane,” his daughter Rose Ford explained. “He was too tall. That was one of the strikes against him. He was colorblind. That was a strike against him.”

Zimmerman’s dream on that day becoming sort of a reality. He flew with a fellow veteran, Pilot John Thompson. Thompson served in Vietnam and is also a former paratrooper featured in a famous 1960′s photo. “Veterans have a unique experience in life,” Thompson explained. “and it’s something that stays with you all your life. I don’t know about Henry, but I can close my eyes and see some of the stuff I did and where I was. It plays like a videotape.” Strangers with a common bond, the men swap jokes and stare at the countryside below. Just a half hour spent in the air, but for Henry, now a new memory to replay over and over.

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