Honor Flight program started by Earl Morse in Ohio in 2005 for the purpose of flying World War II veterans to Washington DC to see the WWII Memorial that was not completed until 2004. Link to history of Honor Flight
The Honor Flight website states that in 2008 WWII vets were passing away at the rate of 1000+ per day and most had never seen the memorial to the brave men and women that freed Europe from the clutches of Nazi Germany and secured freedom in the Pacific from Japan.
The program provides the trip, all accommodations, and extras to the veterans at no cost to them. The volunteers that accompany and assist the vets (many need assistance with walkers, wheelchairs, medical equipment, etc) pay for their own expenses.
application for him). Dad asked if I would consider going with him - I was so honored and answered yes almost before he finished the question. (I had heard about Honor Flight so I knew what he was talking about).
Our trip to see the memorial was October 18 - 19, 2010. It was awesome!
Prior to departure the USO at the Dallas-Ft.Worth (DFW) airport served breakfast for the veterans in the Admirals Lounge. It was very nice and the veterans were treated great and will so much respect. As they boarded the plane the USO volunteers & passengers from other flights clapped and waved flags. Each vet was given an Honor Flight shirt, windbreaker, cap, bag of snacks, and a blanket made by one of the USO volunteers. There were many misty eyes.
As the plane taxied out the DFW firefighters gave a water cannon salute - one truck on each side of the plane. The firefighters at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport gave another water cannon salute after the plane landed.
That night a banquet was held at the hotel for the veterans and volunteers. A color guard from Ft. Myers presented the colors and led us in the singing of the national anthem. If you have never heard a room full of vets sign our national anthem you should! The pride and reverence of the vets is inspiring.
Once on the flight back to Dallas it was discovered that an Admiral from the USS Nimitz was on the flight heading back to San Diego and the USS Nimitz. He addressed the veterans and communicated his deep respect and admiration for them. The vets were very honored.
There is really no way to adequately describe the emotion, the atmosphere, the scene... as these heroes toured all of these memorials. They are such humble men and women with a heart for our country. If you know a WWII vet please tell them about the program. They deserve the honor and recognition.
I respectfully salute the Armed Forces of America - past, present, and future defenders of freedom.