Veteran's Day: Honor Flight Houston
I have been lucky enough to spend all of my life with my grandparents. They have lived right down the street from my parents my entire existence and they've always had such an influence on me. One thing that I have always been in awe of is my grandfather's stories about being in the Air Force during the Korean War. He was in charge of the vehicles and I've heard the stories so many times about how it was so cold that the diesel in the trucks froze. Now that's cold!
Whether you support war or not, you should definitely show respect to those individuals who have risked their lives and left everything they've ever known behind - just to protect the freedoms we have here in the United States. They have been shot at, not showered for weeks on end, ate crappy food, and seen and experienced events that will forever change them. There are things that happened in Korea that still plagues my grandfather and he won't share it with any of us.
A few weeks ago, my grandfather was accepted to Honor Flight Houston's program. He had spent over a year on the waiting list and was finally accepted to go. Honor Flight Houston is a non-profit organization that takes 25 veterans who served anytime between WWII to the Vietnam War on the trip of a lifetime to Washington DC. They took with them a guardian (my brother went with my grandfather) and visited all of the war memorials, Arlington National Cemetery, the changing of the guard, the tomb of the unknown soldier, and so much more. The program pays for everything for the veterans; airfare, accommodations, lodging, entrance fees, transportation, etc. They treat these guys with the respect and admiration that they deserve.
After a whirlwind of a trip, the organization has a welcome home party for the Vets. The welcome home party was such a great experience! Once the guys disembarked the plane at Hobby Airport, they were wheeled down the walkway and greeted by a massive crowd decked out in red white and blue, holding signs, banners, and balloons. There were bagpipe players from the Houston Police Department that escorted them through the crowd and lots and lots of clapping, cheering, and celebrating. It was so emotional to see these guys being saluted by active duty and retired military personnel. The Veterans were shaking hands, smiling, hugging people along the way and there were a few tears running down their faces as well (which is the point in which I started crying).
If you ever have the option to go, do it. Anyone can go to the welcome home party and it is an experience I will never forget.
To all of our active duty and Veterans, thank you for your service. We love you!