Monday, May 19, 2014

Welcome Home Heroes – Indy Honor Flight

May 10, 2014
I think it was back in April that I read an article about the Indy Honor Flight (read about the organization HERE).  My father was a WWII veteran so I cut the article out to learn more about them.
On May 10th, they were taking a group of veterans (75 men and 2 women) on a day trip to Washington DC to see the World War II Memorial.  Statistics say that 900 of the WWII veterans are dying every day.  I found that incredibly sad.  Thus time is running out for many of these men and women to see this memorial. 
Although I looked into all of this too late to participate in some capacity this time around, I wanted to show my gratitude by helping to welcome home these fine folks at the Indianapolis International Airport later that Sunday night. 
I dug out a T-shirt that I actually bought in DC many years ago that has an American Flag on it and left early so that I could get a good spot to see them return.  However since this was my “first time” I wasn’t in the best spot probably so I’ll know next time around.
There were younger men there (I’m not sure if they were “actors” or actual military men) dressed as soldiers from each branch of the service of that era.  And two “kissing” girls as well.
075 So cute - from their Facebook page
The wait was long but what I got to eventually experience was very much worth it.
Once the veterans had proceeded through all of the secured areas of the airport they made their way to a runway of sorts that was stanchioned off in the Civic Plaza - where the public food court and atrium area is.  The Gordon Pipers started off the processional. 
The Governor was the first to greet each veteran and then they were escorted down the runway by a volunteer and walking behind them was their travel guardian holding a poster size photo the veteran from their time in the service.  Here are some of the pictures that I got.
How cute is he taking a picture of this celebration?
098     Feeling the love from both sides at the same time!114                        I have no words.  This is incredible to me.
127            How gorgeous is she? Still wearing her uniform.

The last serviceman was escorted by the Governor himself.  I love this picture below as well.  What a story it tells with the Governor escorting the veteran and the little boy ready to shake the veteran’s hand. 
Sadly one gentleman passed away before he was able to make the trip but they still honored him that night.
It was amazing to see the men and women react/respond to the cheers of so many people welcoming them back.  Some veterans smiled the biggest smiles, some clapped and cheered along with us and some shed tears as they walked by.  I have to admit that I cried a few times myself. 
More than anything, I sure wish my Dad was still alive.  I would love to have signed him up for this trip and gone with him as his Guardian.  Hopefully I can start doing some volunteering with them…in his honor.
This post is dedicated to the greatest man ever in my life, my Daddy:   Henry Jay Morris 1927-1994

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