Wednesday, October 3, 2012

High Praise

     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.




Washington Monument
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.


12 comments:

  1. That's so wonderful. What a great experience for your dad. Im so sorry to hear of the loss of his brothers. The trip had to be painful for your dad.

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    1. Thank you Chloe. Yes, I'm sure it was bittersweet for him. Overall though, it was a wonderful experience for him.

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  2. What an amazing thing this group does. I am so happy and proud of all of those who volunteer in the organization to make this happy. What a magnificent program.
    I'm also tickled pink your dad got to be one of the crowd this year and that he enjoyed it and got to see the honor our country bestows on their veterans in our national capital.

    Great job on this one KAT.

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    1. Thank you so much Jo. I really appreciate all the effort this group puts forth. They are an awesome organization.

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  3. Thanks for sharing your dad's experience. What a great way to celebrate and acknowledge our veterans.

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    1. I was very glad to be able to share my dad's trip with you and to let everyone know about this amazing organization and their great work. Thanks for stopping by.

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  4. I spent a stormy winter afternoon among the memorials and they are quite an impressive sight. I can't begin to imagine how moving the trip must have been for your Dad. What an honor to the nation to have veterans visit.

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    1. Yes, they really are impressive, Kelly. I have been there twice, but not since they opened the World War II memorial. I would love to go back sometime. It is so humbling and moving.

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  5. What a great gift for someone who has earned it in spades! Thanks for posting the amazing pics, Kat!

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  6. You are so welcome. It was my pleasure to share this amazing story. I am so happy for my dad and so grateful to the Honor Flight organization.

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  7. Awesome! It must have been both sad, and exhilarating for your dad. So great!

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    1. Yes, Daphne, I'm sure it brought back some sad memories but he really enjoyed it.

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