Honor Flight: A great story !!
Posted 08 June 2012 - 09:53 PM
What honor looks like: The flash mob at Gate 38 of Reagan National Airport | MullerOver.com
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Posted 08 June 2012 - 10:10 PM
Posted 08 June 2012 - 10:19 PM
We have a local Honor Flight group and they put the word out when a flight is leaving or returning. Two weeks ago they had a return flight and the flight was delayed seven hours and returned at 1:30 a.m. and people still turned out to welcome them home. It is so good to see these caring people showing these veterans how much they are appreciated.
Proud Daughter of a WWII Veteran, 608 Engineer Light Equipment Company
Posted 08 June 2012 - 10:38 PM
Happiness is nice but it can't buy money.
Posted 09 June 2012 - 12:39 AM
[sniff, sniff] Oh, that's nothing. Just got something in my eye.
Freedom is precious and many gave their lives for it. It is the duty of the future generation
to remember that sacrifice, and offer some sacrifice for themselves if Freedom is threatened.
Cecil Earl Workman, WWII Veteran, "L" Co., 129th Inf. Regt., 37th Inf. Div.
PFC Glenn W. Halvorson
PFC Norman L. Halvorson
Posted 20 June 2012 - 01:17 PM
“Honor Flights of Northern Colorado” is one of dozens of similar organizations whose sole purpose is to raise the money for and to attend to the multitude of details needed to send, feed and house occasional plane loads of veterans to the War Memorials in Washington, D.C----all without any cost to the fortunate veterans involved! The dedicated members of the Northern Colorado “Honor Flight” organization accomplish this about two times a year at a cost of about one hundred twenty-five thousand dollars per trip. The recent flight on which I was privileged to go was their eighth such flight. So they’ve had a lot of practice…. and do they ever “Do it right!”
A couple of months ago, I was part of a dinner group that included Stanley Cass (Col. USA-retired). Stan Cass is C.E.O. of the Northern Colorado Honor Flight group and I was delighted to have him invite me to be a part of the May 6th/7th Flight. And what an experience it was!
My Fort Collins, Colorado-based son, Jack, and his wife, Ginger, drove me to the designated assembly spot in Loveland, Colorado. We were about ten minutes early for the suggested 7:00AM assembly time and we were surprised to have the last one hundred yards or so of the road leading to the hotel clogged with people carrying flags, balloons and signs…there must have been over five hundred such early-risers out there! Each elderly person being assisted out of cars and, quite obviously a veteran, was met with many “Thank you for your Service” greetings and we were led to the hotel’s main ballroom where about another approximately one thousand well-wishers were there to greet us. After the outlining of the usual “What You Can Expect” instructions and some stirring activities, we were told that our group included fifty-five World War II veterans, another fifty-five Korean War veterans, fifteen Vietnam War veterans and about forty escorts who were there to help those of us who aren’t as strong as we used to be. Then, we were loaded into four buses for the roughly eighty mile trip to the Denver International airport.
What a ride! The convoy was headed by several State Trooper motorcycle officers whose job it was to roam well ahead of the convoy to block up-coming On Ramps from possibly intruding cars or trucks. Behind the State Troopers, were about one hundred fifty so-called “Patriot Riders”---all of them military retirees who had taken up motorcycling in their retirement. Following them were four State Trooper patrol cars with their sirens blaring and their lights flashing. The four buses containing us veterans and our escorts followed the patrol cars and our buses were accompanied by two Medivac helicopters that flew slightly higher than and about fifty yards to the sides of our buses.
How the word was posted for people to gather along our route to the airport I have no idea, but on every highway overpass there were gatherings of people…sometimes as few as six or so but, much more often, there thirty or more flag and sign-waving, cheering and saluting people. And, on almost all most on- ramps, there were parked fire engines and Police cars with their officers standing at attention and saluting us as we went by. That continued until we got to the Denver airport.
At the airport, we had more instructions and more ceremonies. Following that, we were moved to the waiting US Air jet and we were surprised to see standing close by about one hundred or more active military men and women lined up on the tarmac where they saluted us as our plane moved away. What a beginning!
The arrival at the Baltimore/Washington International airport was equally emotional! To keep from losing any of us, we were gathered at the end of one of the airport’s concourses where the Honor Flight staff began to move us through the crowded airport….The waiting passengers, recognizing the nature of our group, applauded or shouted appreciative greetings, shook our hands (and some of lucky ones, even got kissed) all to express thanks for our former Service. It must have taken twenty to twenty-five minutes for us to make our way down the concourse and through the crowd of cheering passengers to get to the waiting buses.
Our buses took us to the “Baltimore/Washington International Airport-Hilton Hotel”. Here, we had a few minutes to clean up and unpack our suitcases. I was unbelievably lucky because, by pre-arrangement, my Southern California-based grandson, Jeremy Finn, flew in and arrived at the airport just before we landed and he was at our gate to meet me when we unloaded from the plane! He experienced the walk through all those greeting passengers and he was my “escort” (helper, actually!!) until we left the District of Columbia area on Monday evening.
After cleaning up, we moved to the hotel’s main Ball Room where the United States Air Force Color Guard “presented the colors” and our National Anthem was led by The U. S. Air Force band’s soprano vocalist. Following that, we had a fine meal. Our after-dinner speaker was retired Lieutenant General Henry J. Hatch who gave us a stirring speech……What a day!….without question the most emotional day of my adult life!
But there was more to come!....Up really early on Monday, we had a 6:30AM breakfast and we loaded into our buses for the trip to the National Mall where we had the privilege of viewing the great World War II Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the Viet Nam Wall, the Air Force Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. This would be a totally different kind of day from the preceding one. There was sheer emotion on Sunday and there was great interest on Monday. Our Country has done a great job of erecting sites to honor those who served. Wherever you go on the National Mall there is something to honor veterans or outstanding Americans like Abraham Lincoln. My grandson, Jeremy, pushed my wheelchair with unlimited energy and, although he has had no military experience in his life; he joined me in patiently viewing the memorials with apparent great interest.
Around 5:00PM, it was time to get back to the hotel and the waiting buses. Because this had been the experience of a lifetime for all of us, we went reluctantly. Shortly, we were on our way through Washington and Baltimore traffic to the waiting jet and its extremely enthusiastic crew. We arrived back in Loveland around 9:00PM exhausted and delighted with what the Honor Flight folks had done for us veterans.
It had taken over sixty-seven years but I had---finally---gotten my “Welcome Home”.
When he picked me up my son Jack asked me…”Pop, you were concerned that you might get a little weepy on the trip…did that happen?”………”No, Jack, I cried my eyes out!”
There are “Honor Flight” organizations country-wide. Google tells us that in Anderson, California contact may be made as follows…..
Debbi Johnson (530) 357- 3380 or Rob Burroughs @ (530) 347-5944
Each organization runs its activities its own way….what has been described for “Honor Flights” of Northern Colorado may or may not be similar to what the California “H.F.” organization does.
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