Edgar Experiences a Rare Kind of Honor Flight
Honor flight for veterans should not be limited to a trip to the WWII memorial
An honor flight is a remarkable event in a veteran’s life. It is the effort of nonprofit organizations to send veterans to memorials that were built for and are dedicated to them. Before Edgar passed away, he experienced one for himself and other comrades.
Edgar’s experience took place on October 27, 2009, where he and other veterans visited the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC. Honor flight donations made the trip possible. Edgar was very pleased with the day’s activities.
We were there for only one day but the sightseeing schedule was so well planned that was all the time we needed. Leaving Columbia by bus about 4:00 AM, we traveled to the St. Louis Airport for a flight to Baltimore and from there by bus to Washington D.C. Our route on I-70 was greased through with the highway and local police patrols stopping all cross traffic. No traffic was allowed to pass around our bus. On the return trip, a motorcycle brigade picked up the lead by spanning the highway to the extent cars would need to pull off onto the parkway. In Baltimore as well as Columbia, there were crowds of shouting people waving the American flag. All of this was a long time coming but certainly appreciated.
However, despite the joy that the day brought to them, Edgar and many of the other veterans were saddened that the people who deserved the honor and recognition the most were no longer with them. Edgar remembered fallen comrades who were left behind on foreign shores.
World War II may have ended a long time ago, but the spirit of honoring the brave men and women who served the country at that time should be recognized even by future generations.
Supporting this cause is also accessible. Honor Flight Network, a nonprofit organization, is one of the biggest bodies who engage in efforts to acknowledge the sacrifices of war veterans. According to their website, they give top priority to “senior veterans—World War II survivors, along with those other veterans who may be terminally ill.”
The network’s website also emphasizes that around 640 World War II veterans die each day, while there are 27, 272 veterans currently on the waiting list for succeeding honor flights. This means that some WWII veterans may never experience an honor flight in their lifetime.
It is because of this urgent situation that the network can really use people’s donations. If you want to support their cause, you can visit their website at HonorFlight.org.
However, honor flight for veterans should not be limited to the act of flying them to DC. If you want to thank them for their sacrifice, you can do it in your own special way. As a matter of fact, Edgar himself received this type of acknowledgement from a stranger.
In November 2007, I was standing in Circuit City, Columbia, Missouri. There were quite a number of shoppers in my area when suddenly a man emerged from the crowd and approached me directly. He was not tall, appeared a little rumpled in dress, about 40 years of age and had a rather quiet easy expression on his face. He stopped immediately in front of me and asked, “Were you in World War II?” And I replied, “Yes.” “What branch?” I said, “Navy,” whereupon he offered his hand to shake as he said, “Thank you,” turned and disappeared into the crowd.
That moment—which was a tribute somehow—weighed more to Edgar than the Washington Memorial. To him, that simple expression of appreciation was heartfelt.
Have you done your own special honor flight to our veterans? Share your story. There’s more to Edgar’s adventures and life in Of Raincrows and Ivy Leaves. Connect with him on Facebook, Goodreads, and Twitter if you want to discuss your thoughts on this.