2 Young Patriots Make Veterans Their Role Models
TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KLIX) – Two young patriots, both under the age of 10, are making big waves with the Greatest Generation.
Quinn Thorne, 9, and 7-year-old Brayden Thorne have traveled extensively with their dad to visit Tuskegee airmen and other U.S. veterans across the country. Both are involved with the American Legion.
It all started when their dad, Glen Thorne, decided it was time for him to let the veterans know how much he appreciated their service. He taught his sons to do the same, telling veterans a simple phrase whenever they meet them: “Thank you for your service.”
Glen joined the U.S. Navy, but said he felt he did so for the wrong reasons. It wasn’t to serve his country as much as it was to travel the world, he said. He later felt bad about that. Though he still travels, he does so now with his sons and usually to places and events that honor veterans.
His firstborn is a Son of the American Legion, the youngest in Idaho, and Brayden plans to follow in his brother’s footsteps by becoming more involved as he gets older. They both have duties now.
When in meetings, Quinn, among other responsibilities, makes sure “no one says any bad words,” he said, and that prayers are offered. The lessons they’re being taught as they serve carry into their personal life.
“I have one job at school,” Brayden said. “Be good.”
The boys led the Twin Falls City Council in the Pledge of Allegiance during one of its recent meetings. Afterward, they had their picture taken with Police Chief Craig Kingsbury and new Patrol Sgt. Dusty Solomon.
They seem drawn to those in uniform, those who serve their communities and country. In their own small ways, they also are serving. Their dad says it is preparing them for greater service as they get older.
The boys especially are interested in the Tuskegee Airmen, young men who enlisted as the country’s first black military airmen during World War II. The 332nd squadron escorted U.S. bombers during a Berlin bombing campaign on March 24, 1945, helping to fend off enemy attackers. When Quinn saw the story of these men and the air battle depicted in the George Lucas-produced movie, Red Tails, he was hooked on the history of the all-black squadron.
So far, the boys have met veterans in various parts of the country and have become friends with many of them, including Tuskegee airman Calvin Spann, who in 2006 was honored by President George W. Bush with the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Spann died last September. When Quinn heard the news of his passing, like a friend, he cried. The airman’s wife, Gwenelle, called the Thorne family, not to talk to Glen but to see how Quinn was holding up.
“That’s how close Quinn is to these people,” Glen said.
“Dad,” he told his father, “I don’t want any more airmen to die. I want to hear their stories.”
Quinn, who is a mostly an A-student at Xavier Charter School, says one day he also would like in some way to serve his country. He already has started doing so in the American Legion, and has plenty of role models to follow.
Glen, who said he wouldn’t be able to travel with his boys to honor the veterans if not for the support of his wife, Aurelia, is proud of both his boys and expects great things of them. He knows they will accomplish a lot.
“Look at how much they’ve already accomplished,” he said.