I recently decided to work on a new scene as a tribute to Honor Flight. It started in 2005 as a Springfield, Ohio-based organization (they’ve since partnered with HonorAir in Hendersonville, North Carolina to form the Honor Flight Network) to honor World War II veterans. They do it by flying them, free, to the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC.
I first learned about Honor Flight years ago because I’m also a journalist and a couple newspapers asked me to write stories about it. Over the years I’ve interviewed a number of the men who participated.
The vets I talked with flew out of Port Columbus International Airport in Columbus, Ohio. They left early in the morning to go to Baltimore. There the vets got off the plane and went into the airport to a standing ovation. Think about that. Two hundred people standing, applauding!!! for a bunch of elderly veterans, most at least in their 80s, some in wheelchairs, some terminally ill. Everyone I talked to was moved by the experience. They fought back tears telling the story. And to hear them talk about it never failed to bring tears to my eyes too.
From Baltimore they boarded a bus to the memorial in DC. They were pampered every step of the way, truly honored for the service they gave. Then after a few hours they got back on a bus to go back to Baltimore and the flight home. It was a long day for them but I never heard one person complain. They felt incredibly touched to be so honored, especially after so many years.
So it’s with great affection I decided to make a tribute to them. It’s a small thing, really, but I do it with love. Just writing this brings tears to my eyes just thinking about those men. They gave up years of their lives. They fought for their families. For their buddies. For freedom. It doesn’t get any more honorable than that.