In August, it was my privilege to arrange for my dad to go on a veterans Honor Flight.
Dad enlisted in the Army in 1943, when he was 18, to serve his country in World War II. He served in what was then the Army Air Corp, doing most of his tour on islands in the South Pacific, fighting the Japanese.
It certainly wasn't where he wanted to spend three years of his life. Certainly not the first three years of his marriage. But the world was at war.
|Mom and Dad - 1943|
For most of us, WWII is ancient history. But it is the last war that threatened our very existence as a nation and it's most fitting that the generation who fought that war are called the "Greatest Generation".
If you're not familiar with the Honor Flight, it's a volunteer organization that honors America's veterans by transporting them to Washington, D.C. to visit and reflect at their memorials. Preference is given to World War II veterans because, sadly, we are losing these heroes at a rate of 640 a day.
Honor Flight not only transports our heroes, but at each stop the veterans are greeted by active duty military and volunteers who give them the heroes' welcome they deserve.
|The group leaving Dayton, already friends.|
Best of all, when they return that evening, we get to give them the biggest welcome of all. Friends, family, color guards, military, and volunteers. Dad knew my husband and I would be there to pick him up but he didn't know about any of the others...especially my brother Frank who drove in from out of state to be there. Frank said he'll never forget the joy he felt seeing Mom and Dad waiting for him when he got home from Viet Nam and it was his turn. He and I made the sign and were holding it together when Dad saw us. The look on Dad's face was priceless.
|Dad with some of the family at the airport.|
The day after, before Dad headed home, we had a family cookout so he had a chance to tell us about the trip. Here he is with some of the family gathered around.
I am so grateful to Honor Flight for what they do. If you have a veteran in your family, especially from WWII or Korea, please arrange for him or her to go on an Honor Flight. Do it now. You'll be so glad you did.
Quote of the Day:
“Freedom is never free.” ~ Unknown