Banjo Man and I arrived at the Austin airport at 3:45 AM Wednesday morning.
Yes, it was painful. But the plane was only half full, so that helped. The flight crew turned off the cabin lights and let us sleep for a while.
We landed in Baltimore about four hours later and staggered off the plane to hear the sound of cheering. I saw American flags waving a few gates away from us, so we went over to see who was arriving home.
“It’s an Honor flight,” Banjo Man explained, reaching for his handkerchief. “I’ve seen them before.”
“We fly veterans to Washington DC to visit memorials built to honor their service to the nation.
Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization created solely to honor America’s veterans for all their sacrifices. We transport our heroes to Washington, D.C. to visit and reflect at their memorials. Top priority is given to the senior veterans – World War II survivors, along with those other veterans who may be terminally ill.
Of all of the wars in recent memory, it was World War II that truly threatened our very existence as a nation—and as a culturally diverse, free society. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, an estimated 640 WWII veterans die each day. Our time to express our thanks to these brave men and women is running out.”
“We can’t all be heroes. Some of us have to stand on the curb and clap as they walk by.” – Will Rogers.
We watched as World War II veterans exited the plane (in groups of about 10 at a time). An honor guard representing five branches of the military lined up against the wall to salute them, Vietnam vets acted as escorts, and the crowd clapped and whistled and waved flags. It was terribly moving and such an honor to see.
Here are my pictures, as awful as they are (I don’t know how to take a clear picture with my Kindle yet).
(In honor of my father, who would have loved to have been part of this.)