It’s no secret that World War II veterans often carried pictures and letters from sweethearts back home as motivation to push through unimaginable hardship. Now eight decades after that war began, a few beautiful ladies are still keeping one vet’s spirits up in a very touching way.
Paul Sonnier is a 92-year-old veteran who joined the Navy just before the infamous Pearl Harbor attack. His time in the service no doubt came with many adventures, but these days it’s tough for Sonnier to even get out of bed.
Sadly, the elderly man is now in hospice care and is nearing the end of his life. But that didn’t stop one of his healthcare workers from forming a connection with the veteran and planning something special for his birthday.
“He’d always ask me if I wanted to go to Ropers, the local bar,” Jessica Moreau, a social work intern at SouthernCare Hospice Services, explained to WDAM News.
“He says I’ll teach you how to jitterbug and the Waltz,” she recalled.
In fact, Sonnier hasn’t waltzed for a long time. He is bedridden, but that didn’t keep him from telling Jessica that his final wish would be “to dance with a beautiful woman.”
It just so happens that the young intern belongs to the Phi Mu sorority, Alpha Omicron Chapter, at the University of Southern Mississippi. The girls decided to do something unique for the Navy vet’s 92nd birthday and put together a dance for him.
“We as a chapter always like to get involved with the community,” explained Phi Mu chapter President Cameron Ponder. “Since one of our members is a social work major at the University of Southern Mississippi, we just found this to be a great way to honor someone that has done so much for our country.”
With the help of Sonnier’s family, the sorority organized an event and transported the elderly veteran, still in his bed, to the gala using an ambulance. He might not be able to dance, but that didn’t stop him from having a wonderful time.
Family members explained that they were excited to see the 92-year-old veteran enjoying the special occasion and being himself again.
“We’re super grateful, because he hasn’t been out the house in so long,” said Samantha Owen, his granddaughter. “All these ‘pretty women’ get to come around him. He gets to hand out flowers and just be himself. He hasn’t been himself for awhile. So, he’s super happy.”
The veteran’s daughter shared similar words.
“What we appreciate the most is that our greatest generation member, my father, is happy that this younger generation appreciates everything that he did and sacrificed so they can sit here and have fun and have the freedoms that they have,” explained Ida Sonnier.
Paul Sonnier himself regretted not being able to get up and dance, but said he still enjoyed himself.
“It feels good to be with all these beautiful women,” he said.
At a time when many of the “millennial generation” seems to have forgotten the “greatest generation,” it’s incredibly refreshing to see that some college students are still able to recognize the sacrifices of America’s soldiers and sailors.
A social event may not have been a big deal to this sorority, but it just might have made one Navy veteran’s year.
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