I once again had the pleasure of participating on a Chicago Honor Flight. Honor Flight Chicago brings WW II veterans to Washington literally by the plane load. The most recent was May 10. On previous flights I participated as a Guardian. A Guardian spends the day assisting the veteran throughout the days activities. The day is spent visiting the WW II memorial, the Korea and Vietnam memorials and various other attractions depending on the weather and time alloted.
For this flight I was a dedicated photographer. This allowed me to concentrate on getting pictures which more fully cover the days activities. As you can see, the weather was a bit damp. But this didn’t dampen any of the vets spirits.
Due to heavy weather moving in, there was a quick change to Plan B, a visit to the Newseum. A short while later the rain has passed and we were back to visiting the monuments.
On Wednesday 07 August, Honor Flight Chicago brought WWII veterans to Washington, DC. This was the 50th time they made this trip. So far over 4000 WWII as well as some Korea and Vietnam veterans have been treated to a day touring their war memorials. This service is provided at no cost to the veterans. All expenses are covered through donations and fundraising by the local hub (Honor Flight Chicago).
A short service is held during the visit to the WW II memorial. A multi-service military honor guard presents the colors and taps is played.
The Korea, Vietnam and Lincoln memorials are also on the schedule of stops. A visit to the Udvar Hazy Air and Space museum completes the tour. The museum holds a special interest for many of the veterans. Here they can see once again many of the aircraft they had become familiar with during their service.
Each veteran is assigned a Guardian – a volunteer – who accompanies him/her throughout the day. The Guardian ensures the veteran is well taken care of and helps to make the day as enjoyable and meaningful as possible.
At the end of the day, in the Dulles airport local swing dancers often provide entertainment while the veterans are waiting for the departure flight. You might think after a full day of flying and touring, the veterans would be dozing off. While some might, others are taking advantage of the opportunity to show off their moves on the dance floor.
The smiles on the faces of both veterans and volunteers marks the end of another successful Honor Flight.