Friday, November 13, 2009

Honor Flight, Part Two

Dad and Mr. Dizzy went to Washington, DC, on one of the Central Illinois Honor Flights, on Veteran's Day, November 11, 2009.

It was a very EARLY, very LONG, BUSY day for them! The bus left Effingham at 2:30 AM and headed down to Lambert Airport in St. Louis, where they were greeted by a large crowd of people wishing them well. From there, they flew into Reagan Airport, where another large crowd waited and greeted them, and then began their tours.

Unfortunately, the weather was terrible! It was a torrential downpour ALL. DAY. LONG. Fortunately, they had ponchos and umbrellas for the guys.

Here is the group of veterans in front of the WWII Memorial:

Here is Dad in front of the Illinois section of the Memorial:

At the Lincoln Memorial, Dad was very excited to have his picture taken in front of Mr. Lincoln:

Another highlight of the day was the opportunity to meet Bob Dole and his wife, Elizabeth Dole. They make a point of greeting the Honor Flights and meeting/greeting the veterans. Dad was very happy to have his picture taken with Elizabeth Dole, and said she was a very nice, very gracious lady:

Dad and Elizabeth Dole, Take Two:

Dad also got the chance to meet and speak with Bob Dole, and said he was a very, very nice man. Mr. Dole almost didn't get to come to this event; apparently he has been not feeling well, and is scheduled to have leg surgery very soon. But, he was determined to come and meet/greet the veterans - - it's something that means a lot to him and he loves doing it! The group was told that he would only be able to stay for about 5 minutes, due to his health problems. But, he stayed quite a bit longer than that, from what I understand!
Here is Dad with Bob Dole:

There were a lot of other places the group went to on their tours - - the Korean Memorial, the Vietnam Memorial, the Iwo Jima Memorial - - I don't have the pictures for them cleaned up and ready to post yet. Those will follow in another post - - there are a LOT of pictures to go through. Mr. Dizzy took well over 100 photos! So, hopefully soon I will have more to put up here!

After a long, busy day, it was time to head back towards home. They made it to Reagan, and boarded the planes for home. But, the surprises of the day weren't over yet! Unknown to the veterans, the Honor Flight group had contacted family and friends of theirs, as well as schools and legislators, who sent in cards and letters for each one of the veterans on the Flight. During the trip home, they held a service-style "Mail Call" and passed out packets of mail to each member of the Flight. They were absolutely thrilled! Dad ended up with 40 letters/cards in his packet, and was so happy!

Once they landed back at Lambert, there was another reception for them - - a large group welcoming the men back home. Then, back on the bus and headed back to Effingham, where they pulled in around 11:30 PM. But, the day STILL was not over - - there was a large group there greeting the troops as they came home!

Finally, Dad and Mr. Dizzy made it back to their hotel room about 12:30 AM, and called it a day. And what a day it had been for both of them!
Dad is still on Cloud Nine over the trip, and can't seem to wipe the smile off his face. But that's a very, very good thing.

Thank you for your service to our country, Dad. I'm proud of you!

1 comment:

ree said...

How wonderful for him. Thank him for his service from me, too.