World War II veterans pose at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. during the May 18 Honor Flight trip.
To the News Enterprise:
A recent ad in the North Creek Enterprise called the attention of veterans of World War II to visit the National WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C. with all expenses paid trip. I answered the ad and recently took part in the first Honor Flight from the newly formed group in Keeseville.
Honor Flight, now nationwide, started in Springfield, Ohio in 1995. The goal is to give all WWII veterans a chance to see their memorial in Washington, D.C. North Country Honor Flight was chartered earlier this year and their first flight was May 18.
Each vet is accompanied by a volunteer guardian and all necessary items and assistance are provided. Wheelchairs and walkers are provided as needed. Medical assistance is available on each trip.
Our trip had many special surprises. (I will try not to go into detail and spoil the surprise for future trips.) The chartered bus was escorted by a large fleet of motorcycles and a police car all the way to the Albany airport. We were met at the airport with more motorcycles, and honor guard, a military band and a crowd of around 1,000 cheering and extending thanks to the veterans for their service of so many years ago. This, plus a brief ceremony was a very emotional experience. U.S. Senator Paul Tonko spoke briefly and said this was the welcome home ceremony that World War II vets had never received. Our arrival at Baltimore airport was greeted again by an enthusiastic crown and honor guard.
After a short bus trip, we found ourselves at the National World War II Memorial. This again was an emotional experience as memories of D-Day, Anzio, Battle of the Bulge, Midway, Guadalcanal, Okinawa and so many other battlefields were brought to mind.
We were back home safely later that night with great appreciation to those who have made this program possible. Wow, what a day.
If you are a veteran of service during World War II or know of a friend or relative who is, call the North Country Honor Flight at 834-9901 for more information or application for upcoming trips.