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Charlie Harley, #14153

I got to receive an Honor Flight today...

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My wife and I flew into Reagan National Airport today. On the way to baggage claim there was a crowd of folks at one gate, along with a brass band and lots of flags. A lady noticed my Navy jacket and asked if we'd help welcome an Honor Flight of WWII veterans from North Carolina. It was a no-brainer to say "yes" and join in honoring these veterans.

 

As the plane taxi'd to the gate two firetrucks formed an arch of water. When the veterans started coming in the whole concourse lit up with cheers, the band started playing, and the veterans' eyes lit up like it was Christmas of 1930. The brass band played some Glenn Miller tunes and a few of the vets grabbed pretty ladies out of the crowd and danced like it was Times Square, 1945. One gentleman in a wheelchair smiled real big and started wiggling his feet to the music. It was a sight to see for sure!

 

I happened to be standing next to one of the trip's coordinators. I turns out that the man in the wheelchair was 97 years old and had flown 49 missions in B-26s over Europe. 25 was the normal rotation but he volunteered to stay.

 

One gentleman came through the cordon wearing a master parachutist badge and a 517th PIR insignia. I shook his hand with a loud "All The Way, Sir!". He beamed back with a look that made you believe he was ready to jump one more time.

 

There were three ladies in the group who'd served as Army nurses. Several black men who'd obviously served in segregated units were now joining their fellow veterans. Younger generations from all over the airport were beaming with pride and gratitude. It was a day to behold for sure.

 

I wish my Uncle Bob had lived long enough to take a flight. He rode a Horsa into Normandy, fought his way across Europe and into the Rhein Valley, and came home to raise a family. He was smiling somewhere today.

 

The screen's getting a little blurry. I suppose it's time to stop typing... :FlagAm:

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Wow... what an honor! I can think of no other words that would be expressive enough.

 

:FlagAm:

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:FlagAm:

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Outstanding Charlie, especially the "shout out" to the paratrooper.

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What an HONOR! :FlagAm:

 

Cheyenne

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I hear about these flights on the radio. Wish my Dad had lived long enough to take one. I would have found the money somewhere. He was on some beach on D-day. I think it was called Normandy.

Russ

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Charlie,

 

I showed your post to a friend (a woman who served in the Army in the Pentagon, her dorm window overlooked Arlington Cemetery) who was born 6/6/44. She wrote:

 

There are less and less of our WWII vets still alive. I've had a dream for a very long time and Wharf is going to make it come true for me. I was born on D-Day. It's always had a very special meaning for meaning for me. So, for my 70th birthday (which will also be the 70th anniversary of the invasion) we are going to France and England. On my birthday, I will finally get to stand on Omaha Beach. I'll probably bawl my eyes out, but then I cry over commercials.

 

I think that's a wonderful story you posted. Wish I had been there.

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