Last week, my husband went on the Honor Flight to accompany veterans from WWII and the Korean War. The flight left early in the morning and returned the same night to a celebratory crowd of supporters. These veterans spent a whirlwind day in Washington, DC, visiting the WWII, Korean War, and Vietnam War Memorials and Arlington Cemetery.
National WWII Memorial in Washington, DC.
The kids and I were able to greet the flight when they returned, and what a celebration it was! These heroes were treated to bands and flag-waving fans, who applauded and recognized each one as they came off the plane.
Because we’ve spent so much time studying WWII this year, my boys realize the true sacrifice and courage of these American heroes and are in awe of them — seeing history first-hand.
The boys’ great-granddaddies were WWII veterans, but they unfortunately did not live to see any of their great-grandchildren. We are sharing photos, letters, and other memorabilia to get to know them better, and I wish I had their complete first-hand “stories” to share as well.
Korean War Veterans Memorial: Nineteen stainless steel statues depict US servicemen in the Korean War.
Some highlights from the trip:
- “Mail call” on the plane during the flight home.
- The guards at Arlington recognizing the veterans with a scraping of their shoes between the traditional tap … tap… tap. They are not permitted to alter the ritual of the changing of the guard, so this is their way of saluting the heroes.
- Being greeted at the Washington airport by decorations, streamers, balloons, flags, and a huge crowd.
- Hearing the first-hand accounts of these men who were just young boys fighting for their country: a nineteen-year-old pilot, a young diver being “shot” out of a torpedo tube, a seventeen-year-old who signed up on December 8th and had to have his parents sign his papers to permit him to enlist.
The changing of the guard, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Arlington National Cemetery.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial chronologically lists the names of more than 58,000 Americans who gave their lives in service to their country.