Turning 90 is a milestone for those who make it there, but for B.J. Morrow, a Haywood County native and World War II veteran, it was especially memorable.
After serving in the Army Air Corp and being stationed in the Philippines, B.J. returned to Haywood County and worked as a maintenance supervisor for American Enka. He and his wife, Billie McElroy Morrow, raised three children together.
To help celebrate his 90th birthday, his son, Ron Morrow, and granddaughter, Lauronda Morrow, arranged a road trip to visit various military-related museums. Even though B.J. is legally blind, he was eager to experience the trip and spend time with his granddaughter.
First, they visited the Air Force Armaments Museum near Eglin Air Force base in Florida. Then they visited the Naval Air Museum in Pensacola, Florida, where B.J. was given a standing ovation by the crowd attending flight practice by the Blue Angels.
B.J. was among a select few who had the privilege of meeting all of the Blue Angel Team that flew that day, shaking their hands and getting autographs and photos.
B.J. and Lauronda then visited the USS Alabama and museum in Mobile, Alabama, where, among the various displays, they saw the B-52 that B.J.’s fellow church member, Van Davis, flew.
From there, they proceeded to New Orleans to visit the WWII museum, where he was registered as a WWII veteran and greeted by a group of Marines. Then, Lauronda took B.J. to Baton Rouge where cousin pilot Bruce Stamey had arranged for a flight in a North American T-6 Texan Warbird owned by Ryan Roberts, a retired Louisiana state trooper pilot.
Roberts took B.J. for a short flight, letting him experience 2G turns and even letting him operate the “stick.”
All along the way, B.J. and Lauronda experienced traditional seafood and Cajun fare; visited McGuire’s Irish Pub in Pensacola; and ate ate restaurants in New Orleans.
The trip ended with a shrimp and crab boil party, hosted by family, where B.J. enjoyed a traditional pecan pie and butterscotch cake.
“I am so blessed to have a son and granddaughter to plan and execute a trip for my 90th birthday,” said B.J. “They planned all the points of interest and made it possible for me to meet these people who made my trip so special. We were met with respect at all locations and everyone was extremely nice on the trip … This was a trip I never dreamed of taking and was a highlight of my 90 years.”
BJ is making a list of things to do for his 100th birthday.