Yesterday 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.
Boy 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.
Honor 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.
Since 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)