Today’s blog post is a little different from most of mine, somewhat of a personal one instead of business “talk.” I have a special opportunity coming up this week, and I thought I would share an introduction about it now, and then in my next post I will share some of the experience.
On this coming Tuesday, I will be flying out to Washington D.C. with my dad on his “Honor Flight.” This is a program that was started back in May of 2005 by a retired Air Force Captain and physicians assistant – Earl Morse, and a small business owner – Jeff Miller. It began as Morse had asked many of his veteran patients if they had ever visited the newly built WWII Memorial in Washington D.C. While many had said they planned to, even after 6 months had passed, none had made the trip. This inspired Morse and Miller to plan the first honor flight!
Shortly after this a nonprofit organization called the Honor Flight Network was formed and a Board developed to formalize the concept and start building a network of resources to expand this across the country for not only WWII vets, but also Korean War and Vietnam veterans. Since the beginning, 159,703 veterans have made this trip, including 20,806 in 2015 alone. There are currently 21,032 on the waiting list at 130 different “Hubs” throughout the country – pretty impressive to be sure!
While on the visit to the Capitol, we will make 7 different stops. After arriving at Reagan National Airport, we proceed first to the World War II Memorial, followed by the Korean War Memorial, Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. There will then be a stop at the Air & Space Museum in Virginia, the US Marine Corps Memorial, US Air Force Memorial, and finally a visit to the Arlington National Cemetery with a view of the Tomb of the Unknowns and Changing of the Guard. It will indeed be quite the agenda and make for a long day – we are scheduled to leave at 4:45 in the morning from Springfield, IL and then return at about 9:30!
My dad is a Korean War veteran, and spent a good amount of time on the front lines as part of the Army. I know that he is looking forward to this trip – his first time to D.C., and while it will indeed be a tremendous opportunity, I also know that it will be very emotional for him, and myself as well. As his “guardian” for the day, I will accompany him and provide support, and also have the opportunity to take many pictures to commemorate the day. After returning, I will look to share our experience in my next post – stay tuned!