As a caregiver, you’re always in search of something special you can do for your senior. If your loved one is a World War II veteran, you probably go out of your way to celebrate patriotic holidays. There’s also an exciting new way to honor and thank your veteran loved one: the Honor Flight.
I first heard of this program in 2009 when my father announced that he was going on one of these tours with his good friend, also a World War II vet.
Dad was an aviator by night and a spy by day during World War II, and next to his beloved civilian job with American Airlines, there was nothing he talked more about than his World War II experiences. He loved nothing better than to make a new friend of a fellow vet and exchange war stories. I’m sure you’ve memorized your loved one’s stories as I have, and this tour provides our seniors with one last chance to relive their experiences with other vets who can appreciate and relate to the stories.
Dad was proud of his service, as every veteran who participates in an Honor Flight is. Nothing would ever top this trip to Washington, DC, with other World War II veterans for a full day of activities in their honor. When veterans convene, no one leaves as a stranger, and that day was no different. It was the last trip my world-traveler father took, so I can only imagine the imprint it left on him.
What Is the Honor Flight?
According to their website, “[The] Honor Flight Network is our way of paying a small tribute to those who gave so much — a memorable, safe, and rewarding Tour of Honor!” The goal of this organization is to send World War II veterans to Washington, DC, to visit their memorial. Right now, with over 20,000 World War II veterans on the waiting list, those veterans are a priority, and the organization is doing everything in its power to accommodate World War II vets who are willing and able to visit.
Disabled veterans are welcome, and the network expects and plans for a high percentage of disabled veterans. Volunteers are available to take care of the needs of everyone present, and should your loved one need a guardian, you can apply to accompany your senior in that capacity. The Honor Flight Network has planned for every contingency, and the organization is the picture of organization, compassion, and gratitude.
The Honor Flight comes free of cost to any veterans who wish to participate. If your loved one would like to take part, contact the hub that’s closest to you to learn more about the experience and how to apply. An Honor Flight in gratitude for your loved one’s service to our country is a unique gift you can give him or her, and it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that she or he will never forget. When veterans convene, no one leaves as a stranger — and this tour brings vets together to bond over their shared experience.