The greatest generation and those that have followed:
Thursday I had the privilege of attending the return of an Honor Flight at Eisenhower Airport. For those of you who are not aware of this group, Kansas Honor Flight is an organization with the mission of sending the few remaining Kansas WWII veterans, as well as Korean and Vietnam vets, to visit their War Memorial in Washington D.C. while they have the chance.
I was invited to greet the veterans as they came off their flight, and was honored to lead them past security and down the ramp to a designated location in the terminal building. Bagpipes played and everyone in the terminal stopped – What they were doing? – and stood and applauded them for their service. Between the bagpipes and the applause, there weren’t very many dry eyes left.
A photographer was there to document the return and was able to get the entire group in one shot. Before he took the picture he said we would be able to find the picture at the post office on the Most Wanted List wall. I had a chance to address the veterans, welcomed them home, referred to the photographers comment and told them that 50 years ago not only were they ‘Most Wanted’ but were ‘Most Needed’ at a time when our country and the world were most in need of their service.
I quickly ended my comments after thanking them for their service, knowing that if I had spoken much longer, my voice would have cracked to go along with the tear that was already forming. Goose bumps and a warm feeling in your heart will be waiting for you if/when you go out to receive these most deserving vets upon their return from a trip.
Funds are raised by donations made to the Kansas Honor Flight. It takes $700 to send one veteran on a Kansas Honor Flight. This year’s Riverfest will hold a fundraiser on Saturday June 6 for this deserving organization in the form of a rubber duck race on the Arkansas River during Riverfest. Ducks can be adopted online at www.kansashonorflight.org/Duck_Race.htm and also on the day of the race. Please see your Festival Guide for more information.
Button Up. Have a Blast!
Admiral Windwagon Smith XLII