May 14, 2014, will remain a vivid day in the memory of many U.P. veterans.
This was the day that they finally got the recognition they never expected, but richly deserved, for their military service in either World War II or the Korean War.
This was thanks to the Honor Flight. In one day, they were flown from Escanaba to Washington D.C. and back to view the memorials built to honor our American servicemen and women.
They started their trip escorted to the airport by the Freedom Riders. When they reached the hangar, there was a band playing and family and friends were there to see them on their way.
When they reached Washington D.C., they had honor guard and police escorts, gifts, and camaraderie shared by the veterans and enjoyed by their "Guardians." During the tour of Washington D.C. they visited the World War II, Korean War, and Vietnam Memorials, as well as the Iwogema and Air Force Memorial, Arlington Cemetery, and the Washington and Lincoln Memorials. Their tour also included viewing the White House, the Capitol, and the Supreme Court, plus many other important government buildings.
The Honor Flight program was such a blessing. These aging warriors left the comfort of home and family for the trip of a lifetime, honoring their days of service as well as those that served with them and those that didn't return. What they received was an unexpected show of appreciation and respect. It was so touching to see the veterans of the greatest country in the world, being recognized for their bravery and patriotism. They were overwhelmed by this response.
As they left the plane on their return, they were flanked by the honor guard waving flags and welcoming them home, as well as a crowd of well wishers, including a senator, a congressman, and other veterans.
As my father's "guardian" on this flight, I saw so many special moments. I was proud to be able to make these memories with my dad as he shared things with me that I never knew, stories that can be passed on as part of our family history.
Thank you Honor Flight, and thank you to all of those who continue to show our nation's vets the gratitude they so deserve. Thank you to all the volunteers and organizers and to everyone who donates their time and talents to make this one of the most amazing trips I've ever taken. I know it meant the world to every one of the veterans who have had the chance to be a part of it."
East Jordan, Mich.