On October 27, 2016, several hundred men, women, and children greeted the Honor Flight Upstate in Greenville/Spartanburg Airport. Cub scouts, marines, police men and women stood and sat to wait for the World War II veterans to return from their trip to Washington, DC.
Honor Flight Upstate SC is a non-profit, volunteer-based program that is dedicated to honoring some of our veterans for the sacrifices they have made to keep our nation safe and our people free.
They shows their honor and support to these heroes by offering a program that flies World War II and Korean War veterans to Washington, DC, to see the memorials built in their honor, and to experience recognition for their service that literally saved the world.
Volunteers are assigned to each participant; the volunteers pay and train for this privilege. If selected as a guardian for a specific Honor Flight, duties include assisting veterans at the airport, onto and off of the plane, navigating steps at the memorials, making sure they stay safe and have everything they need in order to enjoy their trip. Guardians are responsible for paying their own way for the trip, which at this time is $400 per guardian – a small price to pay to spend an unforgettable day with members of our Greatest Generation!
With veterans dying at astonishing rates each day, time is of the essence. Support is needed from those who will volunteer their time, guardians who are willing to pay their own way to travel with and assist the veterans, and donors who will help provide the funding for the veterans as these trips are completely free to our WWII and Korean War veterans. Honor Flight Upstate SC has flown over 1200 veterans to Washington, DC since May, 2008. $600 is the amount needed to pay for an individual’s trip.
Following this, they go to the Marine Corps Memorial and the Air Force Memorial before they return to Reagan Airport.
These veterans were met with cheers, waving flags, balloons, handshakes, and hugs. Here us a video of a few minutes of celebration.
My dad served in the Army during World War II. On this evening, we waited to see a friend of his return from this trip to Washington back to Spartanburg. Some of the Greatest Generation were in wheelchairs; others walked on their own steam. The stars of this event wore blue T shirts, and we shouted “Welcome Home” and “Thank You” to the top of our lungs. Smiles were on all the faces there.
In the crowd from the Daniel Morgan Chapter SAR were three men dressed in Colonial clothes, representing the first veterans in our country. As I watched them salute and stand at attention when the National Anthem was played, it touched my heart. Whether a descendant of a patriot who fought during the Revolutionary War or a veteran of a twentieth century war, we know that freedom is not free. Honoring those who have fought for our country must continue, because we are here because they fought.
As President Harry Truman said, “America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.”
Thank you for your service!