ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Welcoming Our Heroes Home

Updated on October 24, 2019
abwilliams profile image

God Bless America, Land that I Love, Stand beside her and guide her, thru the night, with a Light from above...

A gathering crowd
A gathering crowd

The mission

It is estimated that 640 WWII Veterans die each day.

It is the Mission of Honor Flight to transport Veterans, from all across the U.S.A., on an all expense paid day trip to Washington D.C., in order to visit the memorials.

I suppose for many, it is a time for reflection, for others, a time to put the past behind them, once and for all.

Each man, each woman, dealing with their own personal demons or perhaps having dealt with them, are now free to take this time to simply enjoy the experience. A time in which they will be welcomed accordingly and guided through, making their way to the memorial, which recognizes them and their service to this Country.

~~~

A friend and I recently had the honor of welcoming back a group of WWII Veterans, along with Veterans of the Korean War and the Vietnam War.

While awaiting their arrival, I struck up a conversation with the sweetest woman. She was as sparkly as the homemade glittery 'Welcome Home Heroes' sign she held in her hands. She would eventually hand off the sign to a young man that may have been her grandson; free to hug, shake the hand of, chat with...as many returning veterans as she possibly could.

Her husband was on the flight and she had been in communication with him and her daughter, who was accompanying him, throughout the day. Apparently, the word for their day was wonderful, simply wonderful. "The weather was wonderful...he was surrounded by wonderful people...it was just wonderful".

She told me about how he had gone off to Vietnam and that war not only changed him, it changed her. She was young, but she quickly realized that she was on her own and had no choice but to grow up fast. She used the example that no one was going to change her tire for her, she'd have to do it herself.

Somehow they had beat the odds and their marriage had survived...closing in on sixty years.

I think I may have heard her entire life's story, if we hadn't heard the bagpipes announcing their arrival and that would have been just fine by me.

The crowd grew and grew
The crowd grew and grew

Honoring Our Veterans

We arrived early and there was only a handful of people, I was a little disappointed in the turnout...for all of about ten minutes and then, they started showing up, the people came out. The Color Guard was there to welcome them. Scouts of America, other Veterans and Veteran groups, many families, we even spotted Lady Liberty in the crowd.

They all showed up with flags of all sizes, homemade signs, infectious smiles, grateful hearts and Patriotism galore!

It is such a little thing, a small gesture, but we would soon see that it meant the world to those walking and rolling through, the makeshift passageway of honor, in the middle of the airport!

We were instructed to offer a handshake, but not to squeeze or apply too much pressure, if they could, they would negotiate the handshake.

That was the case; the hands that I shook, squeezed my hand, a couple of them had quite a grip, I am here to tell you!

Many would acknowledge our presence, but kept to themselves. Most of the guardians, I suspect many were family members, were tearing up, thanking everyone and overwhelmed by it all.

I couldn't help but wonder...with each and every one that passed by, what was their story:

  • What had they seen, witnessed, had they been wounded in action?
  • Did they lose good friends....over there? Wherever that may have been for each of them. I guess the question should probably be, how many good friends did they lose?
  • Did they return from the brink of death, to be repaid with a long, long good life or have they felt guilt for surviving?
  • Had any of them been spat upon when they returned from Vietnam and were they finally being honored after all these years, for the very first time?

Trip of a lifetime

Currently, there are 130 Hubs in 45 States, assisting in making these trips possible.

In 2018, 21,189 veterans and 19,383 guardians were flown in from one of these locations throughout the U.S., into our Nation's capital, for this trip of a lifetime.

Over 38,000 veterans are on the waiting list.

While the original goal was to provide this trip to as many of our WWII veterans as possible, over time it has transitioned into including Korean and Vietnam War veterans.

If there is an opportunity in your area, to welcome a group home, I would highly recommend it.

For more information or to donate:

Honor Flight Network

Honor Flight is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing veterans with honor and closure.

honorflight.org

A day in D.C.

Sources

Honor Flight Network

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 A B Williams

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment
    • abwilliams profile imageAUTHOR

      A B Williams 

      8 days ago from Central Florida

    • abwilliams profile imageAUTHOR

      A B Williams 

      3 weeks ago from Central Florida

      Love it!!!

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      3 weeks ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      What? We live in Fighter Town USA. Not one day goes by without. A salute to a sailor or soldier or marine. My wife works on a base. We live it here. The parents in dress garb go to the head of the line at my son's school. My family stands in awe of those who serve.

    • abwilliams profile imageAUTHOR

      A B Williams 

      3 weeks ago from Central Florida

      Thank you Shannon. It was so nice seeing the kiddos there.

      My friend Pam, actually took the pictures, I was either listening to life stories or videoing. :)

      As I stated on FB, it was very moving, an unforgetttable experience!

    • shanmarie profile image

      Shannon Henry 

      3 weeks ago from Texas

      What a "wonderful" hub this is, Angie. I'm so glad that you shared your experience. It's especially special to see the picture of the child being so patriotic. This is definitely one of your best hubs. :)

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
    ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)