Honor Flight

One of the greeters who welcomed the Honor Flight

Something to think about:  “If you can read this, thank a teacher.  If you can read this in English, thank a veteran.”  One of the greeters who welcomed the Honor Flight

Returning to Portland (Maine) from Chicago on Southwest Airlines, I had a 3-hour layover in Baltimore.  Unfortunately that didn’t allow enough time to rent a car and go into the city,  which meant I was stuck at the airport for the full three hours, and I was dreading it.

Well, there is a reason for everything and clearly I was meant to have that layover.  Because about an hour into my wait, an announcement was made over the intercom:

Attention all passengers.  Please make your way to Gate B4 to welcome our Honor Flight veterans!  Please show your support for the men who have served our country by welcoming them from Arizona as they arrive at BWI for their tour of Washington, DC.  Again, that gate number is B4.  We hope to see you!

Suddenly I heard a roar.  Loud cheering, whistling, and calling out.  Since I was in Terminal B, I wandered over to Gate B4.  I couldn’t get as close as I wanted to . . . there were hundreds of people, men and women and children, young and old of every race, crowded together waving flags, smiling, and clapping in anticipation of the veterans’ imminent arrival.  Now the veterans began disembarking and entered from the plane through gate B4  into the terminal .  Most of the vets were men and women in their 80s and 90s, many in wheelchairs; veterans of WWII and the Korean War who proudly wore labels with their name, branch of service, and where they had served.  They were greeted with handshakes and hugs by these hundreds of airport greeters:  “Welcome!  Thank you for your service!”

All of the veterans smiled, some laughed, some cried; so overwhelmed were they by the outpouring of love and gratitude for their service almost 70 long years ago.  It was one of the most touching, spontaneous moments I’ve ever experienced – – the coming together of complete strangers who wished to show love and appreciation and honor to people who they’d never even met before.

Honor Flights were started by retired USAF Captain Earl Morse.  You can read more about him here.  This wonderful man was on hand to greet the arriving veterans and his entire persona literally radiated kindness.

Earl Morse, founder of Honor Flights, greets a veteran at BWI.

Earl Morse, founder of Honor Flights (middle), greets a veteran at BWI.

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I took a video (sorry about the bad lighting etc, it was truly spur of the moment) with my cellphone which I’ve posted on youtube.  You can watch it by clicking here.

Apparently a documentary has been made about honor flights, and you can see the trailer by clicking here.

For more information about this worthy organization, click on honorflight.org.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Reuven Buckberg on May 21, 2013 at 12:35 pm

    A beautiful endeavor and a beautiful story. In my work in the hospital I usually ask gentlemen of that age what their service experience was, and if they are veterans I get a great thrill out of thanking them for their service. We boomers don’t often appreciate the sacrifice of that generation. And we don’t often realize how different the world would be under a Nazi Europe.

    Reply

  2. Thank you so much for this great article and your warm comments about our efforts. My wife and I like to vacation up in Maine every year; however, since I started Honor Flight in 2005 we haven’t had the free time to rest and unwind. We both really miss our annual trips. You folks in Maine as so blessed!

    Sincerely,
    Earl Morse
    Honor Flight Founder

    Reply

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