Wednesday, October 13, 2010

More JOY: Honor Flight for Veterans

So, I was just sitting down to do some blogging with a JOY Cupcake leftover from yesterday's birthday celebration.  And oddly enough, I am not going to write about the cupcake.  I'm not going to write about food at all today.  But I am going to write about something that is a pretty JOYful event.  I hope you'll enJOY this.

On Tuesday, my grandfather, who is 92, had the opportunity of a lifetime.  Late Saturday night, he got a very unusual call.  At 9:00 p.m. he received the news that he would be able to participate in an Honor Flight for Veterans to go to Washington D.C. for the day and tour the World War II Memorial.  The wild part: the trip was to take place in just 3 days!  He spent the next couple of days preparing: making sure he knew how to work the digital camera, making sure he had new batteries and a new memory card.  He selected a special Marine hat to wear.  All the details had been arranged for him: breakfast, lunch, and dinner were provided.  The flight was provided.  Doctors and medics volunteered to go along in case anyone needed medical care.  What an opportunity!  I am sure that he probably was so excited that he didn't sleep in the days leading up to the trip! 

On Tuesday morning, my mom, dad, and grandmother took him to the airport to see him off.  There was a high school band playing patriotic songs and the local news covered the event.  There was a beautiful sendoff.  You can click here to see my post from yesterday with some of his pictures as he was leaving.

Then last night, he returned to an unexpectedly amazing reception.  Members of the military and police from many different counties were there.  The Clemson University marching band was there playing patriotic music.  There were, of course, balloons, flags, ROTC officers, and TONS of friends, family, and supporters.  But the really amazing thing was the way each Veteran was honored.  Each Veteran was asked to pause at the top of the escalator for a moment before descending to the crowd, and each recieved an amazing round of applause and cheers.  I hadn't thought about it before, but on the local news story, one of the Veterans remarked that for many of the WWII Veterans, this was the welcome home that they never got when they returned from war.  I thought about how special that must have felt to be honored that way-- and to see your loved ones honored that way.  My mother wasn't able to welcome her father home from war because she wasn't born yet!  Who would have thought she would have a chance to do this-- it is almost like a trip back through time.

I am so grateful to all the volunteers who gave their time to make this amazing event happen. 

Here are a few pictures I would like to show you.  Just so you can know who some of these people are...

My grandmother is the one in the yellow shirt in the bottom right of most of the photos.  My mom is in a red shirt with a ponytail, and my dad is behind her in the plaid shirt.  My grandfather is wearing a blue shirt with a red hat.  I think these photos will speak for themselves, so I will be quiet and just let you soak up the JOY in these moments.  I'll post two links to the local news stories so that you can watch if you like.

News Coverage: Morning reception and Getting Ready for the Flight

News Coverage: Evening Welcome Home Reception


1 comment:

  1. AWESOME Liz!!! That is truly an experience that each soldier should have received when they landed after the war they served in! We truly gave a disservice to each that didn't get one. What an honor for you & your family to be able to participate in this now!! An Absolute blessing!


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