2016 South Plains Honor Flight Veteran fulfills last wish before - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2016 South Plains Honor Flight Veteran fulfills last wish before passing away

J.L. Slaughter at the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C. on September 24th (source: KCBD) J.L. Slaughter at the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C. on September 24th (source: KCBD)
J.L. Slaughter at the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C. on September 24th (source: KCBD) J.L. Slaughter at the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C. on September 24th (source: KCBD)
LEVELLAND, TX (KCBD) -

Tuesday morning, family and friends gathered in Levelland to celebrate the life and legacy of 95-year-old J.L. Slaughter, a World War II Navy veteran.

Mr. Slaughter was a member of the 2016 South Plains Honor Flight just last month, and after falling ill on the second day, he died in Alexandria, Virginia on Oct. 5.

But his family says they can't think of a better way for him to have spent his final days.

It was a fitting service, for a true hero.

"He taught me about honesty, about loyalty. About never quitting, no matter what," his son, Bruce Slaughter, said.

Those who knew him best describe J.L. Slaughter as a man who loved his family, a hard worker, and a proud American.

"He loved his country, and he served," officiant Mike Holster said.

J.L. enlisted in the Navy in 1939, and was honorably discharged in 1945.

"Served on the U.S.S. Indianapolis, the U.S.S. Washington, and the U.S.S Alaska in WWII during the Pacific campaign," Bruce said.

Bruce says his dad did everything he wanted to do in life, but there was one last goal J.L. hoped to achieve.

"It was his desire to go on the South Plains Honor Flight, to pay tribute to those who he served with," Holster said.

And on September 24th, his final dream came true.

"I got to take him to the airport and see him off that day. Just seeing the arrival when they got to the airport and everything - everyone applauding and shaking hands and everything. I just knew that meant a lot to him," Bruce said.

J.L. led the procession at the WWII Memorial and placed the commemorative wreath.

Though Mr. Slaughter became ill the next morning, this was the moment he was waiting for - a moment his loved ones can cherish, knowing he had the chance to pay tribute to his fallen comrades, knowing he was honored for his service to our country.

"With the Honor Flight and everything he got to do - recognition he got to give to others and the recognition that he received. I think we're all kind of in agreement that, that was what he was supposed to do," his grandson, Jody Slaughter, said.

"Kind of a fitting farewell," Bruce said.

Our condolences are with the Slaughter family at this time.

Copyright 2016 KCBD. All rights reserved.

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