So I wrote the preblast for this and was talking it up a bit. What this is, is a flight for vets of WW2, Korea and Vietnam up to DC, a tour around the city and visits to the memorials and then a flight back home with a welcome. It was one of the most remarkable times of my life. I encourage everyone to try and do this if you can and if you know someone who is a vet of these wars and hasn’t been, reach out to qchonorflight.org and see what you can do to get them on it.
The family and I showed up at the airport around 7:15 and parked in the hourly deck. When we walked in, Whoopie texted me and said there was a line so don’t get in a hurry. We waited in line and got the parking validation and our boarding passes to clear TSA. We made our way all the way to the end of concourse D. That’s where Whoopie and his family were waiting. As we all caught up and talked about this and that and watched my youngest 2.0 terrorize the isles and play with bullwinkle, the crowd kept growing and growing. At the time of our sign up, there was over 400 people. On the way in, I chatted up the USO volunteer who said there were over 600 people expected. It got to be time and people were hustling around and honor guards, patriot riders, young Marines, etc. were taking their place. We heard the bagpipes and here they come. Each era group behind their own banner. First the WW2 vets. Leading them was a 100 year old pilot. Whoopie and I did some rough calculations and about the youngest age you could be is 94 if you were a WW2 vet. The greatest generation is getting away from us, both literally and figuratively. Imagine if we still held the ideals and promise of that generation.
Next was Korea and then the Vietnam Vets. It was a sight to watch all of the revelers welcoming these men and their chaperones home. There were family members with awesome signs. The girls made up some signs for the troops and on the back of them were Stanleys local hero Nic O’Brien and Tiny Tanks friend from west point Cpt. Daniel Whitten.
All in all, the procession lasted about 15 minutes. Whoopies M got after it. She was screaming the whole time and waving the American Flag and grabbing a hand as they went by and telling them Thank you. I was speaking with another Vietnam vet at church Sunday (Walter Hobbs USMC) who is a member of the Rotary that puts this on or helps out and he was saying they sent people home in ones and twos and he landed in Charlotte at 0400 and his parents picked him up….a long way from a parade. There were a couple of men who recorded their walk thru and one remarked that this was overwhelming. we did our parts to make sure these men know how much they are appreciated. I remembered the old pictures you see on facebook that says “that old man was way more of a badass than you will ever be.” How true those words are. There are just no real words to capture everything we felt, but I hope I did it justice.
Be good brothers,
I put some pictures up and supplemented one I saw on Facebook that was clearer.