Honor Flight

One of the most fascinating things about living in Northern Virginia is how close it is to Washington DC, with all of its monuments and history.  One of the newest monuments is the World War II Memorial, located between the Washington Monument and the Lincoln Memorial.

I recently had the privilege of welcoming about 80 veterans as they arrived at Dulles Airport on an "Honor Flight."  It was a happy experience, and at the same time very emotional watching these brave old men and, yes, women too, who served their country so long ago to help save the world.
The Honor Flight program is a non-profit group with different chapters all over the United States that began in 2005, soon after the World War II Memorial was opened. What began as a charity to fly elderly veterans of World War II to DC for free for a day or two to see their Memorial has now grown to include younger veterans of the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
Honor Flight Dulles Airport
All three local international airports (Reagan, Dulles, and Baltimore) see Honor Flights arrive on a regular basis throughout the year.  As the planes land and taxi across the tarmac, they pass beneath honorary cross-streamed water arches blasted from the airports' fire truck hoses.
Honor Flight Dulles Airport
Then, as the veterans exit the plane they are greeted by hundreds of cheering volunteers with welcoming signs and banners, music, and American flags waving.  It really is special seeing the look on the veterans' faces as they walk past the cheering crowds, or are wheeled past in wheelchairs by their family members or caretakers.  Some are smiling ear-to-ear while others are silent with tears of joy and appreciation.

Next, they are all loaded on charter buses and whisked away with a full police escort to DC where they will visit the memorials created in THEIR honor. They spend plenty of time viewing each memorial, reminiscing and sharing memories. As everyone tours from memorial to memorial, strangers stop the veterans on a regular basis to shake hands, give hugs and say "thank you" for their service.  Finally, they return to the airport with much of the same fanfare with crowds of volunteers to cheer them as they depart.
Honor Flight
It's always nice to have extra cheers for the vets as they have this experience, and I promise it will be a great experience for you, too!  If you would like to learn more, please visit www.honorflight.org. Volunteer positions include sending off the veterans at the airport in the morning and welcoming them home at the end of the trip with a cheering reception; answering office phones and entering application info into the data system; mailing requested material and purchased merchandise; as well as contacting veterans and guardians to make arrangements based on our projected flight schedules.
Honor Flight
Also, if you ever get the chance, be sure to check out the documentary "Honor Flight" about the program.  It's really a touching film! Thank you to all veterans who have served!
Honor Flight