Friday, May 6, 2011

Music City Honor Flight

By Chester Campbell

I'm heading for Washington next Wednesday, but President Obama needn't worry. I'll only be there for the day. I'll be traveling with 100 other old guys who are part of what Tom Brokaw called The Greatest Generation. They're World War II veterans who are being flown to the capital for a day of sightseeing at the World War II Memorial and several other military memorials.

We're traveling with the Honor Flight Network, a program that has been going on for several years now. Flights are organized in cities around the country, funded by private donations. This will be the second one from Nashville and will fly on a chartered U.S. Airways plane.

In addition to the vets, there will be a "guardian escortT" to assist every three veterans, plus two nurses and a physician. We'll be well taken care of.

On arrival at Reagan National Airport, we'll board three buses for transportation about the capital. Besides the World War II Memorial, we'll tour the Vietnam, Korean and Lincoln Memorials. We'll have our pictures taken at the Air Force Memorial and view the Navy and Marine Memorials from the bus. The tour will end with Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The first Honor Flight took place in 2005 when six small planes flew a dozen World War II veterans to Washington from Springfield, Ohio. Since then it has expanded to seventy hubs in thirty states. Of the more than sixteen million men and women who served in World War II, less than two million survive and they're dying at the rate of some 1,000 a day.

We met for a pre-flight briefing last Saturday, and most of the guys seemed to be in pretty good shape. Several needed wheelchairs, and others walked with canes. I heard plenty of talk between those who served in the same or similar outfits. I'm looking forward to the flight and the memorials we'll see.

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Morgan Mandel said...

How nice that this service is provided for you.
You deserve it!
Thanks for being a vet!
Morgan Mandel

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