On Thursday, September 20, 2012, my nearly 91 year old Dad took the trip of his life. Thanks to a wonderful non-profit organization called Honor Flight Network, Dad took his first plane trip since World War II. Honor Flight Network honors our veterans and their many sacrifices for our country by flying them to Washington, D.C. to visit the war memorials. And the amazing part...it is at absolutely no cost to the veterans.
Upon arriving at the airport at the early hour of 6:00 a.m., Dad was welcomed into a group of 105 veterans who would be his traveling companions for the day, along with around 60 volunteers. They were each given a disposable camera to take pictures with. On the morning flight they were served breakfast and on the return flight that evening they were served a hot dinner. Landing in Baltimore, MD., they were greeted by some active duty soldiers. They were then loaded on a tour bus to start their day that would include visits to all the war memorials. At lunch they were provided sack lunches.
The first and most important to my dad, was the World War II Memorial. Dad was a Navy Air radio operator in a bomber plane. He also had 2 brothers who were also in World War II, neither of which made it home. Both were killed, one at Normandy and one at Iwo Jima. I wrote more about them a couple of posts ago.
Between Dad and the nice volunteer couple who assisted him all day, he got some good pictures to remember his visit. Here are some of them:
Dad at different areas of the World War II Memorial
|The couple who assisted Dad|
This wall is covered with 4000 gold stars. Each star
respresents 100 soldiers who died.
Dad took up all his pictures at the World War II Memorial, but they did visit all the other war memorials.
The whole group.
|Raising the Flag at Iwo Jima|
Upon arrival back at the Louisville airport, the tired veterans received a hero's welcome home. There were groups of people waving American flags and a choir of voices singing patriotic songs. These deserving men and women were treated like royalty the entire day.
This is such a wonderful opportunity for veterans like my dad who would never have otherwise had the chance to visit Washington D.C. or the war memorials. I would like to send a special thanks to the Honor Flight Network, and especially the Honor Flights Bluegrass Division, for giving my dad such a special gift. He loved it and was so happy when he got home. I truly appreciate all the volunteers who made this possible.
If you are a veteran or have a parent, relative or friend who would benefit from this trip, the Honor Flight Network has regional chapters all over the United States. Check it out by clicking on any of the links in this post.