As one of 77 Vietnam Veteran Elite Guardians, it was an honor and privilege to be paired with one of the 77 WWII veterans on the April 2 Honor Flight to Washington, DC.
This coupling of veterans on an Honor Flight was the first of its kind in the nation. I want to convey my heartfelt gratitude and deep appreciation to the board, staff, and many volunteers of Honor Flight South Florida for their herculean efforts. The logistics and coordination are staggering and are complicated by the fact that all the WWII Vets are 89 plus years of age.
It is impossible for me to remember the names of the many groups and individuals who worked behind the scenes to make this, in the words of my vet, “the greatest day of my life after my wedding day and the birth of my two sons.”
I also wish to thank the hundreds of people from all walks of life who made time on a Saturday to come out to greet us at each stop along the way. Military, veterans volunteers and people who just wanted to be there were waiting for us. Crowds of tourists gathered to shake our hands and welcome us at Arlington and the WWII and Vietnam Memorials. The welcome at MIA was tremendous and overwhelming, even though we arrived late.
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We all must have had allergies because our eyes watered and our throats were tight for most of the day. It was a deeply emotional experience.
If you know of a WWII veteran who has not made an Honor Flight, please go to www.honorflightsouthflorida.org or call 1-855-FLY-1-VET and get an application. The flight is free for WWII veterans.
The next Honor Flight is scheduled for May 21. It usually arrives at about 8 p.m. at MIA.
Everyone is invited and encouraged to welcome home these WWII veterans from their “one last mission.”