Recently, my grandfather had the amazing opportunity to take a very special and life changing trip through the Honor Flight Network. This program flies WWII Veterans and a family member back to Washington D.C., all expenses paid, to view their WWII Memorial. This program allows many Veterans the chance of a lifetime, a trip that many Veterans wouldn’t be able to take due to lack of resources, health, or assistance, if it wasn’t for the hard working and generous people from Honor Flight.
The Veterans are sent on their way to Washington D.C. with special ceremonies in the airport and are surrounded by patriotic crowds. Upon their arrival back home, they are also greeted with surprise crowds of family members, friends, and military as they walk through their gate. It is truly an emotional and heartfelt trip as WWII Veterans are reunited and take this special trip back to Washington D.C.
According to the U.S. Veterans Administration, approximately 430 WWII Veterans are passing away each day. Time is of the essence to honor and remember these Veterans and their service and Honor Flight makes this possible.
While they are on their flight, the Veterans are handed mail that contains surprise letters family members, friends and loved ones wrote to them thanking them for their service. It is reminiscent of the letters they used to receive while they were away during WWII.
My grandfather was a B-17 Flight Navigator in WWII and flew over 32 missions over Germany. He will be 92 on the 4th of July. This was my letter to him that he received on his flight:
I have two words to say to you…THANK YOU. Thank you for your service, your sacrifice and your courage. Thank you for your bravery in the face of adversity and for your strength in the times of despair. Thank you for your resilience, your wisdom and your intellect that guided you through your missions and your life. Thank you for serving our country and for fighting for our freedom. Thank you for risking your life so others may live. Thank you for exemplifying a kind of silent courage, strength and heart that others always look up to and admire. Thank you for being a wonderful example of how to handle life when you’re in the worst of situations and you’re scared. Thank you for not giving in and not giving up. Thank you for your responsibility and duty. Thank you for your service in World War II as a B17 Flight Navigator.
Thank you for setting the example of how a family and marriage should be. Thank you for teaching me that a home should overflow with happiness, love and laughter, making no room for sadness, anger and tears. Thank you for showing me that a marriage is built with a solid foundation of love, support, value, respect and God. Thank you for showing me that relationships aren’t built in a day, the important things take time. Thank you for showing me that after 64 years of marriage, you can still feel the butterflies, the love and the pitter patter of your heart as you stare at the lovely woman you grew old with.
Thank you for showing me how to weather adversity with strength, confidence and hope. Thank you for teaching me that in life you don’t always wind up where you think you should be, you wind up where you are supposed to be. Thank you for teaching me that the grass is not always greener on the other side and that I should appreciate my own lawn and water it more. Thank you for teaching me that hope, prayer and perseverance are more important than money, wealth and material things. Thank you for teaching me prayer and faith in times of sadness and in times of happiness. Thank you for showing me how to pull through with strength during times of loss and despair. Thank you for showing me that it does not matter what someone does, where they live, or where they work, they all deserve the same love, respect and value. Thank you for teaching me that family means more than anything and that no matter what I lose in life, I will never lose my family. Thank you for teaching me that the things that matter most are the ones you feel with your heart.
Thank you for the honor of being my Grandfather.