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WWII Vets – A Day Spent Walking in History

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“On November 16, 2009 the Board approved a plan to closeout Honor Flight Tennessee Valley after an added Honor Flight #11 on May 29, 2010. Any remaining funds will be transferred to the Veteran’s Museum for the establishment of a permanent tribute to the alumni and the accomplishments of Honor Flight Tennessee Valley. Hopefully someone will step forward to start a program to carry Korean War Veterans to their Memorial—the Forgotten War.”


While getting my degree, I made myself several promises. One was to give back to the community when I graduated. My first venture at my first full-time job was to sign up as a guardian for Honor Flight. Over a year later, they called me up to see if I was still interested. It turned out to be one of the most profound experiences of my life. Tennessee Valley Honor Flight charters planes with 125 vets, forty guardians from Huntsville, and ten medical personnel. We meet eighty-five guardians upon landing in Washington D.C. Each Huntsville guardian is assigned four vets for the flight up and then one they help for the day.


It was absolutely amazing and profound. It was my first flight in almost thirty years. The vets were just like walking in history. We were up there on the day of Senator Kennedy’s funeral and got to meet Bob Dole. There were parades, and bands, motorcycle calvacades of the wounded vets who escorted the buses. We took them to the WWII memorial, the Korean Memorial, Iwo Jima, the Marines memorial, the Women’s Memorial, Arlington, the Navy memorial, a scenic tour of D.C., and a round trip flight, all in one day. It was one of the most unique and profound experiences of my life. I made several lifelong friends that day. These men are just a different breed. My primary honoree saw the flag being raised at Iwo Jima from his ship the USS Izzard. There were tears, laughter, and so many stories. One vet was on the carrier the day they first launched a plane from onboard a ship. One was telling me about being there when Japan surrendered. I think I taught most of the 125 how to work their cameras on the flight up. It was the experience of a life time.


The people who organized Tennessee Valley Honor Flight have my utmost respect and gratitude for allowing me to be a part of it. It was an amazing experience. My life has been forever enriched.


Volunteer in your community; you will be rewarded 100 times over.



 



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