Thursday, May 26, 2016

WDAY Honor Flight : Day One

In June of 2015 I printed out the paperwork for my Dad to go on the Honor Flight.  He was reluctant because he doesn’t like to fly.   My Mother was instrumental in talking him into going.  The paperwork was submitted.  He didn’t make it on the October 2015 flight but was notified that he would be on the next flight. 

The Honor Flight idea began when Earl Morse a Physicians Assistant in Ohio saw that his WWII Veterans were not seeing their memorial.  He started flying them himsef in 2005, he and his pilot friends personally transported 137 Vets to their memorial.  Jeff Miller had a bigger vision of commercial planes filled with Veterans and The Honor Flight Network was born.

The WDAY Honor Flight is part of that network. Since May of 2007 there have been 5 trips that took 718 Vets and 537 escorts to Washington DC from Fargo North Dakota.  The sixth trip May 2016 was the one my Dad and Brother were on and there were 94 Veterans.  Each trip costs $150,000.  Escorts pay $750.  The Veteran pays nothing.  Food, lodging and transportation are included.

The plane left from Fargo ND Hector International Airport on Sunday morning May 22 2016 and arrived in Washington DC to rain.

On the flight they were given letters of gratitude from family members and friends.  Dad got ten letters.  (He didn’t get mine because I entered an incorrect email address, but I gave it to Dad when he got back home.)

There was a Brass Band and many groups of people to meet them at the airport.  Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Veteran’s Groups…they were welcomed like the Heros they are!

They toured Arlington National Cemetery.

Arlington National Cemetery

Dad said “There were so many grave markers, when they came next to a tree they just skipped over to where the next marker could be.  It was awesome.”

At the tomb of the Unknow Soldier

My Dad and my other baby brother Jody.

They are at the tomb of The Unknown Soldier.  Can you see the path worn into the stone…

Tomb of the unknown

My baby brother Carey has one son who lives very near Washington DC and another who lives in New Jersey.  They met my Dad on the rainy Sunday afternoon.

Relatives in the rain

Jody, Jena with Collins, Ben with Presley, Dad and Kirk. I believe Christine took this photo, she is my baby brother Carey’s sister in law.

They didn’t have a long visit but the boys got to see their Grandpa and their Uncle Jody, and the little girls got to see their Great Grandpa and Great Uncle.

Iwo Jima Flag raising 1945

The flag raising at Iwo Jima.

Dad said they drove around in the busses, the rain continued and everyone was getting wet and cold.  They went back to their hotel and attended a banquet.

All photos were taken by my other baby brother Jody.  He was a great escort for my Dad…he is big and strong and can push a wheelchair uphill!  I could have gone but I passed the honor to my brother who is younger and stronger than me. The escort must be able to handle all the carry on baggage and a wheelchair.

The Wheel Chairs were donated by Sanford Health.  My Dad is able to walk with a cane, but a wheel chair just makes it more comfortable and a bit faster for some of the old guys.  There were a couple of Veterans on the trip who are wheel chair bound and they rode in a van with a wheel chair lift.  There was a medical team of Doctors and Nurses that went along.  They had four large tour busses and a Police Escort that cleared traffic for them.

The next day the sun came out for the Veterans.  More on Day Two tomorrow.

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Tom said...

It's a wonderful program!

thecrazysheeplady said...

How neat!

linda m said...

These flights are the best thing someone ever came up with. My father-in-law couldn't say enough wonderful things about his honor flight.

Gail said...

I am so pleased. Thank your Dad and your brother for me, please. Thank you and all the people it takes to make something like this happen.

Dad was at Iwo Jima and more.

MTWaggin said...

SO COOL and I am glad your Mom talked him into going and that your brother could accompany him. Extra bonus to see family too!

Mac n' Janet said...

I think these trips are wonderful!!! We have been to D.C. a number of times because our daughter was living there. The Memorials always make me cry. Bless your Father for his service.

Pauline Persing said...

Wonderful account of the trip so far. I am looking forward to reading about the rest of it.

Linda W. said...

What a wonderful thing to do for all those veterans! I enjoyed your story. Thank your dad for me for his service to our country.

Tired Teacher said...

Too bad the weather made the first day miserable. Thank you for submitting the paperwork for your dad: I know he was touched by that and the trip itself. Our WWII heroes need to see their memorial and their nation's Capitol.

baili said...

touching writing ,glad to read you liked your family pics as well

L. D. said...

He did get to see a lot of good historic sites. It is too bad that it rained but it is a busy crowded place. I remember dodging people at all the places I wanted to see. It was so good he had family in the area as he got a family visit bonus.

Red said...

That is a very special memorial for some tremendous service.Congratulate your Dad from this old guy in CAnada.

Anonymous said...

This is a beautiful documentary to read. Good to know the requirements for the escorts, too. Thanks to you brother for accompanying your dad. Looking forward to reading more as you share.

Henny Penny said...

I'm so glad your dad went. It makes me sad to think about all those grave markers. Enjoyed seeing the pictures of your family.

Granny Marigold said...

What a great idea the Honor Flights are. Too bad about the wet weather though.

Linda Reeder said...

These Honor Flights really to make the vets feel honored. They are a wonderful thing.

Jacqi Stevens said...

What a wonderful program. So glad your dad was among the group going this year! Wish it wasn't so rainy for them, though. Hope the weather stayed nice for the rest of the trip!

Sam I Am...... said...

They usually televise the honor flights that leave from here but I haven't seen any for awhile. So glad your Dad got to go! Thank you to all of them for their service and their sacrifice.