Today is Veterans Day in the US. I am so extremely grateful to all the veterans who had answered their country’s call to serve in the Armed Forces. Many of those who have served did so without a choice as they were conscripted into service during various wars in the last 80 years. So, to all those who have served – THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE AND SACRIFICE!
What is Honor Flight?
Link: Honor Flight
So, in honor of Veterans Day, I wanted to look at something that is related to our area of interest in aviation and that is Honor Flight. Honor Flight was established back in 2005 as a way to bring the nation’s veterans to Washington DC to let them visit the various memorials.
Thanks to the support of many (and to Southwest who provides complimentary travel for the Honor Flight network), this special opportunity is free to veterans, with priority being given to those with terminal illnesses so they can visit the memorials while they still have time. Some Honor Flight trips are for the day with other ones, particularly those coming from a greater distance, being for days, like up to 5 days.
Each veteran making an Honor Flight journey is setup with a guardian. This guardian can be a relative (not a wife), preferably someone at least a generation younger than the veteran (but over 18). If they do not have a family member that can make the journey, the local Honor Flight Hub (of which there are 129) can provide a volunteer to make the journey with them.
I have friends that have volunteered and served as guardians and they said it was an incredible experience, which is something that you may want to look into if you want to have an amazing time spent with a local veteran and being able to see their reactions at the experience of visiting the various memorials.
Airports and airlines also get into the event, providing local support for these veterans and those waiting for the flight so they can depart often clap and honor the veterans as they are escorted off of the plane. I have been among this group of travelers several times and it is an emotional time to get to honor a veteran and see the look of humility and gratitude on their faces, many times as they are wheeled off the plane in wheelchairs due to their ages.
To those who participate and those who donate, thank you for honoring our nation’s veterans in this way! If you did not know about Honor Flight before, maybe you will now want to seek out their nearest hub and help out during one of their next missions. You can find their hubs here.