|Boarding a flight from Chicago to Boise, I stopped in my tracks before I could even walk down the aisle to my seat. |
A sea of black hats peaked above each seat.
I immediately recognized the hats because my husband has one on his dresser, it was his grandfathers. The hat signifies what war a soldier may have fought in, if they are a veteran and sometimes what branch they served.
Emotions flooded through my body. I wanted to snap a picture of the beautiful sight, but I chose not to, as I didn't want to offend any of the veterans or invade their privacy.
Unbeknownst to me until boarding the flight, I had the privilege to fly on an honor flight with World War II Veterans who were flying back from Washington D.C. The trip provided, a first-time experience for many, to see the World War II Memorial.
When we arrived in Boise, the veterans were the last to exit the plane. Many passengers, including myself, waited at the gate to welcome the veteran's home, a Hero's Welcome they never received after the war. One by one they passed by the tunnel of grateful Americas. With tears welling up, I clapped and smiled, knowing I'd never forget the moment.
Indy Honor Flight is a non-profit organization created solely to honor Indiana's veterans for all their sacrifices. There are similar organizations throughout the country with the same mission: to transport America’s Veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit those memorials dedicated to honor their sacrifices. Currently, the top priority is given to the senior veterans-World War II survivors, along with those veterans who may be terminally ill.
Why am I sharing my experience on the honor flight? Well, there is a way for you to get involved and participate with an honor flight.
Every veteran will receive ten or more pieces of mail. The emotions that "mail call" raises are a testimony to the character of these men and women and how much these small acts of kindness mean to them.
My colleague, Vic, accompanied his uncle on an Honor Flight trip years ago and stated, "During the war, mail call was a great day! It was a day that raised their spirits. Mail call during the honor flight is a total surprise and they were humbled and very grateful for all of the letters. The veterans are humbled by the outpouring of support that is shown to them by friends, family and strangers."
If you are reading this post, it's because of the freedoms that were fought for by the men in World War II and other wars.
Please take a couple of minutes of your time to write a letter to say, THANK YOU!
Please address your letter to: Dear Veteran
Do not date your letter
Example signatures: (first name), Mrs./Mr. (last name), or simply A Grateful American
Please mail cards and letters to:
Indy Honor Flight
P.O. Box 10
Plainfield, IN 46168
"We can't all be heroes, some of us need to stand on the curb and clap as they go by" -Will Rogers
Stephanie L. Jones
P.S. Thank you to Vic and the Indy Honor Flight for pictures and information on the Indy Honor Flight experience. To learn more about Indy Honor Flight check out their website at www.indyhonorflights.org.
Day 6 Giving Challenge: Write a thank you letter to a veteran.
Did you know... 16 million Americans served in the armed forces in World War II and less than 500,000 are alive today. It is estimated 348 WWII veterans die per day and soon, we'll loose a generation we owe so much to.
Chat with your Children: Grab some construction or copy paper, markers and get your children involved and have them make cards for the veterans. This is a great opportunity to talk to children about the purpose of our military, our men and women serving domestic and abroad, our veterans, the wars that have been fought, and most importantly the sacrifices these men and women make for the freedoms we often take for granted.
Bonus Story: My friend and fellow author, Michelle Medlock Adams, wrote a fabulous children's book, What is America? Here's a little of what some of my fellow givers believe America means to them. Enjoy!