The rock star status World War II veterans enjoy today is the very least a grateful nation can do to recognize and honor men and women who sacrificed and served the nation in the armed forces during that era. Sidney Walton didn’t have that chance in his youth. The 102-year-old WWII veteran laments that in his younger years, he didn’t get to meet the rock stars of that time — Civil War veterans.
As an Army Corporal, Walton fought in the China, Burma and India Theater, 34th Infantry, 8th Division. Being one who lives life to the fullest, he and his family launched the No Regrets Tour. For over two years, Walton and his son have crisscrossed the country so people can meet him. His travels recently took him through Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD), where he received the red carpet treatment.
When Walton’s son Paul called ahead to prepare for the trip from IAD to Los Angeles International Airport, the VIP staff at IAD made plans for a smooth trip through security. They contacted Federal Security Director Scott Johnson to inform him of the departure and alerted the appropriate TSA managers and supervisory officers. They also communicated with their partners at United Airlines Global Services about Mr. Walton’s trip and requested a wheelchair through the check-in and security process.
Mr. Walton makes lasting impressions wherever he goes, especially on the TSA officers who are privileged to assist him through the security checkpoint. “As a proud veteran who served on active duty in the Marine Corps and in the Army National Guard, one of the first things you are taught when you first enlist in the military is to honor and respect those who sacrificed and paved the way before you,” said Supervisory Officer Scott Prentice.
The Walton family appreciated the VIP treatment. “Dad is so happy with all the wonderful service that he was provided,” said Paul. Recalling their time at the security checkpoint, Paul said, “The service was absolutely outstanding. Thank you to all the hardworking TSA officers serving the traveling public throughout the country. We appreciate every one of them.”
The feeling is mutual, as expressed by Prentice. “Thank you, Mr. Sidney Walton, for your service and thank you, Mr. Paul Walton, for sharing your father with us for a few minutes. For me personally, it made my day.”