Specialized wine bottles honor WWII vets’ legacies

Published: Oct. 7, 2022 at 5:55 AM EDT
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There are more than 1.4 million veterans here in Florida.

Showing respect to the oldest living vets is a big mission of Honor Flight South Florida.

They fly vets to war monuments in Washington for free, and a new mission to help fund that comes through bottles of wine featuring World War II veterans on the label.

WFLX spoke with the families of the veterans on the bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon made by Caymus Vineyards in California.

Belle Syphax's husband, Julian Syphax, is on the label.

From her West Palm Beach home, she said Julian would be proud.

"He would say, 'Oh my God, finally. This day is coming,' Belle Syphax said.

His story goes well beyond the label on the bottle.

It's just a snapshot of his World War II service.

One of three Black men on his ship in World War II, Syphax battled the enemy and what he described as racism onboard.

The more Honor Flight and this wine label project moved forward, the more his family heard his story before he recently passed away.

"When he talked about and shared his experiences, we were shocked," daughter Gail Syphax said. "However, it helped me understand the man that was my father."

One-hundred percent of these wine bottle sales help the Honor Flight fly veterans to the Washington war monuments.

It's something organization director Ryan Paton said gives the veterans their due respect.

"To be able to take them to their memorials, but also give them a welcome home they never got, is almost like rewriting history," he said.

Syphax's family remembers that moment they traveled to the nation's capital.

"We were welcome with open arms and it was such an amazing thing, that in the last five, six years of his life that he was able to experience some really, really wonderful things," Belle Syphax said.

Also on this label is Jeffery Palmer, who served for Great Britain on a mine sweeper in World War II. Palmer's nephew, Richard Eagles, lives in Palm Beach County now.

"These men, not just my uncle, were ordinary men who did extraordinary things," Eagles said.

These wine bottles can only be purchased at Honor Flight raffles and auctions. To find out when those are happening, visit https://www.honorflightsefl.org/.

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