February 9, 2018
Oklahoma History Center Announces the Release of “Just in Time,” the Story of the Oklahoma Honor Flights Program
OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma Historical Society (OHS) is proud to announce the recent release of “Just in Time,” a book chronicling the Oklahoma Honor Flights (OHF) Program. This work was written by former State Representative Gary W. Banz with a foreword by OHS Executive Director Dr. Bob L. Blackburn. The book describes the hard work and determination of thousands of individuals as they honored Oklahoma’s World War II veterans with a pilgrimage to see the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. “Just in Time” may be purchased through the Oklahoma History Center Museum Store for $29.95. OHS membership discounts will apply.
The National World War II Memorial was dedicated on May 29, 2004. After it was dedicated, the dilemma facing World War II veterans was that most were physically unable to make the trip or afford the expense. The first effort to get a group of WWII veterans to the memorial was accomplished by Earl Morse, a physician’s assistant and retired Air Force captain from Springfield, Ohio. In May 2005, he arranged six small planes to carry 12 WWII veterans to the visit the memorial in Washington, D.C. With that, other state and local leaders began to collect donations and gifts that would ensure other veterans willing and able to travel the opportunity to see their memorial. The Oklahoma Honor Flights Program was established in 2009, and its first flight took place in 2010.
“Just in Time” reflects the sentiment of thousands of individuals who were directly and indirectly affected by the Oklahoma Honor Flights program. These stories are told through logistical details, personal testimonies, remembrances of friends and relatives and heartwarming and heartbreaking recollections from OHF staff and associates. The goal of OHF was to honor as many World War II veterans as possible, even if it was “just in time.”
Author Gary Banz was the cofounder and executive director of Oklahoma Honor Flights. He served in the U.S. Army from 1968 to 1970 and was awarded the Army Commendation Medal in 1970. He served in the U.S. Army Reserve from 1982 to 1988 and was awarded the Army Achievement Medal in 1985. In 2004 Banz was elected to the Oklahoma House of Representatives from House District 101. He was given the Oklahoma Medal of Freedom from the National Guard Association of Oklahoma in 2014 and the Douglas O. Dollar Distinguished Community Service Award from the Oklahoma Military Hall of Fame in 2016.
The Oklahoma History Center is a division of the Oklahoma Historical Society and is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, National Archives and is an accredited member of the American Alliance of Museums. The mission of the Oklahoma Historical Society is to collect, preserve and share the history and culture of the state of Oklahoma. Founded in 1893 by members of the Territorial Press Association, the OHS maintains museums, historic sites and affiliates across the state. Through its research archives, exhibits, educational programs and publications the OHS chronicles the rich history of Oklahoma. For more information about the OHS, please visit www.okhistory.org.