[Apologies, because journalism school teaches that expository articles should not be written in the first person singular, but to give this story some additional emphasis, I will except from that guidance for this post.]
Honor Flight Network
Please read the detailed, poignant article below. To entice you to click on the link and read it, here is the introduction clipped from AviationPros. Please take the time to really comprehend its message and hopefully volunteer to support your local Honor Flight Group:
The men and women, who fought in World War II, the Korean War and the Viet Nam War, are reaching ages when fewer and fewer of them are alive or able to participate in the Honor Flights. The Honor Flight Network finds these veterans and flies them to Washington, DC for a truly first class experience.
Here are a few of the local groups:
Google to find your nearest chapter and consider volunteering.
As many know, the veterans of neither Korea nor Viet Nam arrived home to any welcoming events. Yes, their families hugged them and were glad to see them, but the heroes’ greetings, for which they were entitled, did not occur.
Honor Flight gives them that recognition and really treats them with all of care and attention that those individuals merit. There are pictures of these soldiers, sailors and airmen in Washington, but the trips begin at their homes. The vets are brought to the airports and get royal welcome from other passengers. Those who need help are given a personal assistant, a guardian (volunteer). The airlines provide awesome care during the time in the air.
Once in Washington, DC, the groups board buses and get a motorcycle escorts to the Mall and with military precision, the honored guests, their guardians and their wheelchairs quickly disembark their ground transportation to visit the memorials erected in their honor and in memory of their fallen comrades. Some find a name andspend some time with the person and others take the time to thoroughly surveil all of the memorials evocative symbols, statutes and vistas.
They show smiles and tears as they visit the memorials (remembering the good moments and these horrible times of anguish), but uniformly you can see their pride. Chests, now not as robust as when they fought, literally swell as their hearts feel the respect if, not love, of these wonderfully orchestrated events. They share memories with their brothers and sisters and reflect the gratitude being shined their way.
I volunteer on the Mall and have the privilege to greet them on behalf of the National Park Service. I have seen the smiles and the tears as well as felt their appreciation.
I stongly urge all to consider contacting your local to become a “guardian.” We, as a nation, owe these men and women our gratitude and this trip to recognize them is appreciated by them,, but equally rewarding to the volunteers.Korean War veteran David Mitchell of Jackson Township summed up his recent Honor Flight experience, succinctly capturing the feelings of his comrades.
“As veterans, it’s probably one of the best things that ever happened to us,” said Mitchell. “We had a bunch of people go on this trip, and they said they never had such a great time. We had thousands of people who greeted us. Guys were crying from happiness.”