I am writing this the day after returning from the 43rd “Never Forgotten Honor Flight.” As we are now coming upon Memorial Day, this flight out to Washington D.C. to see all the veteran’s memorials, gave me feelings of humbled pride of service. I knew that, all these veterans, who were on this flight with me, also carry in their hearts and minds, all the soldiers, sailors and marines who did not return from war.
It had been 53 years since enlisting in the Army, wanting to serve my country. Admittedly after being deployed and coming back to Travis Air Force Base, near Los Angeles, when we were ready to take our next flight, we all were told to take our uniforms off. When I did get home, I got off the plane in Mosinee wearing blue jeans and sandals.
This honor flight is a memory I will carry till the day God calls me home. What a reception we received at Reagan Airport, from passengers waiting to board their planes. There was not a vet without a mist in their eyes. So many young children and teenagers walked up to us and welcomed us home. Ironically, as a retired firefighter, the Reagan Airport Fire Department, gave the honor flight a salute by a Cross spray of water over the plane in the Veterans honor. I was honored to meet so many other era Veterans, who are now getting on in years, many now in wheelchairs, or as they called them honor chairs.
It was a whirlwind of a day going out and coming back to the hundreds of, family, friends, veterans groups, and so many others, who turned out at Mosinee Airport to welcome us back. I was honored to have my son as my Guardian on the flight, to be on this flight with Bill Plante from our parish, and to see Andy and Deb, from our church family, giving of themselves as volunteers, and guardians, for all the honor flights.
As we were just a short time out from Mosinee, coming back, we had what we longed to hear in the service; “Mail Call!” I personally want to humbly thank all those who sent a card, and/or letter of thanks for our service, and to all the wonderful children in our parish family who sent a letter of love and thanks.
In remembering, “Memorial Day,” we all stand in silence and prayer, to honor, and remember those Veterans who fell in battle for the freedom of our country. All of the Veterans on this Honor Flight were humbled to be given such a wonderful, proud to have served, “Welcome Home.”