Tom is a Vietnam veteran and a history buff. Stories of World War I and II as well as more recent conflicts always catch his attention and his extensive reading habits always gravitate to these conflicts. Several years ago we became involved with the Honor Flight program as supporters. The Honor Flight Program is a nationwide program that is dedicated to taking World War II veterans to Washington DC to view the WWII Memorial as well as some of the other sites in the capital. The Veterans are treated with the dignity and honor that they so richly deserve and at absolutely no cost to themselves. Each veteran is assigned a guardian to travel with them on the trip and that person assists with wheel chairs and anything else the veteran might need. All meals are provided as well as the airfare for the veterans. Guardians pay, usually between $400 and $500., for the privilege of traveling with their honored veteran. We attend the welcome homes and help raise money to send the veterans on these trips. Our daughter is amazing; teaching cookie decorating classes and funding this group in many ways.
Tom was able to fly on the trip that went out last week and had a wonderful guy to escort all day. They really hit it off and it was an amazing honor for Tom to be able to do this.
They fly out early in the morning and arrive back late in the evening. I was at the airport along with approximately five hundred other people to welcome these veterans home. A band was playing all the old favorites like “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” and “Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree” and the crowd sang along.
We ran into some lifelong friends also at the airport to be part of the celebration.
This is an amazing program and we highly recommend that if you ever have the opportunity to attend please do. In past wars everyone felt the effects of being at war: they sold war bonds, rationing coupons made shopping a challenge and you learned to do without so much of what we easily purchase today. Victory gardens were planted and cooking pots were turned in to support the soldiers. Wives, mothers and sisters knit socks, hats and sweaters for the boys and supported the war effort in hundreds of other small ways. For an inspirational read I suggest “Once Upon A Town: The Miracle Of The North Platte Canteen” by Bob Greene. Today, unless we have a soldier on active duty, we don’t feel the effects of the wars we are waging around the world. Our lives go on in much the same way that they always have. To understand the sacrifices that were made by our previous generations gives a new appreciation to our lives today.