Honor Flight Network

IMG_7298Yesterday after dropping my daughter off at the airport, my husband and I were walking out and noticed a big commotion. Two long lines of sign holding, American flag waving people had gathered and were beginning to cheer.

 

This large crowd of well wishers had turned out to pay their respects to WWII and Korean War veterans. They had spent the day in D.C. visiting the memorials dedicated to them. This day was made possible courtesy of Honor Flight Network. They were now flying home after their adventure.

 

IMG_7300Boy Scouts rushed up to the vets eager to shake their hands and the Girl Scouts handed out free boxes of cookies to each person. As they proceeded down this line of cheering fans, they waved, smiled, teared up, and savored this moment of appreciation.

 

Being greeted at the airport as the American heroes that they are was clearly a special moment for these veterans. The smiles and looks of delight on their faces showed just how wonderful this day had been for them.

 

IMG_7265Honor Flight Network is an organization formed with the purpose of honoring veterans for their sacrifices. Many of America’s veterans have never had the opportunity to visit their memorials and reflect upon what their service meant to themselves and our country. Veterans are flown FREE of charge to Washington, D.C. The only money they need to bring is for souvenirs!

 

Unfortunately, time is running out for WWII veterans to visit their memorial. There are approximately 1.7 million WWII vets still alive and an estimated 640 of them die each day according to the Department of Veterans Affairs.  WWII veterans are given top priority to participate in Honor Flight Network, as are veterans who are terminally ill. Korean War Veterans are now also being flown in to see their monument as more room becomes available.

 

IMG_7251Since the waiting list is so long, spouses and other family members are not eligible to attend. Volunteers, called Guardians, shepherd veterans through the entire process ensuring that each trip is safe, memorable and rewarding. Guardians apply for this position, attend training and must pay for their own flights.

 

Over 100,000 WWII veterans have been flown it to see the WWII Memorial since this program began in 2005. There are currently 16,000 more WWII veterans on the waiting list hoping to get their turn to fly in to see the memorial. Honor Flight Network runs entirely on donations.

 

For more information, please visit their website: Honor Flight

 

T Shirt Color Key for Photos

Navy Shirt:                WWII Veteran

Royal Blue Shirt:     Korean War Veteran

Red Shirt:                  Guardian (Volunteer)

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23 thoughts on “Honor Flight Network

  1. How wonderful that you happened to see this delightful event! The boy scouts and girl scouts probably learned a lot before they came to the airport to greet and honor these veterans. Thanks for sharing! BTW, I’m a mother, wife, and Montessori teacher of first, second, and third grade children. Happy to find your blog!

  2. My 90 year old father-in-law went on this in March. He was in WWII and the Korean War. He had a wonderful exhausting day. We picked him up at the airport and seeing those men brought tears to my eyes. We take for granted what our service people give of their lives for us.

    • That’s so awesome that he participated in this. I was commenting to my daughter that these men must be exhausted after this long day. We saw them at the end of the day, around 6:30, and they all seemed to be in great spirits. The smiles on their faces were priceless. Thank your father-in-law for his service for me. 🙂

      • It snowed that day and the wonderful volunteers had their hands full. They didn’t get back until 1:00 am and were exhausted! I will give him your message. Thank you for letting others know about this wonderful event.

  3. That is truly inspiring! When we are in DC on vacation quite some time ago, I’m not sure if it was the same group or a similar group was visiting memorials the same day we were. It was so touching. We (tourists) knew without being told that these men were special. We just knew it. It’s nice to hear that things like this are done for the men who served our country so long ago.

  4. I didn’t realize the numbers of veterans passing per day were so high. I did some quick math and within the next decade, they’ll all have passed. I know in Canada, we’re eternally grateful to those who served for our country (my uncle being one of them who died at age 95). Thanks for the great post!

    • I didn’t realized this either until Saturday when I happened upon this event at the airport. It took SO long for our government to build the WWII memorial that a tremendous number of these vets have been unable to visit. Thanks for reading! 🙂

  5. You always have such great topics to cover and not coming from the US I always find them fascinating and now you have taught me something else. Great post, I almost had a tear seeing the vets. How great is it that they are so respected and have free passage to pay their respects. Such a beautiful story and well written and communicated… Thanks!

  6. Thank you for your great comment on Binding Judgement. I love your blog, however…I have just, today, marked the Anne Frank quote to put on mine! Is that serendipity or not? Does this mean I now can’t use? I’m going to enjoy getting to know you.

  7. I remember happening upon a scene similar to that which you witnessed at the airport (http://dcbikeblogger.wordpress.com/2014/04/21/an-impromptu-parade/). I was at the World War II Memorial, and veterans, many in wheelchairs, were making their way from their bus to the Memorial. Once realizing who they were, the crowd at the memorial spontaineously stopped, cleared a path, and applauded as the heros made their way through. The Honor Flight Network is such a worthwhile cause.

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