A day of honor for World War II veterans
... a salute to all World War II veterans
from Bob Campbell
It was a chilly, cloudy morning as we approached our meeting place for my Honor
Flight trip. As we turned into the parking lot, we were greeted with waves and
smiles by men and women wearing yellow jackets. There was an atmosphere of
excitement and happiness. As soon as we parked and approached this jubilant crowd,
my hand was shaken and I was welcomed by a gentleman who escorted me to the
building's entrance. I wondered why we were entering the Community Center building
when this was a bus trip to Washington, D.C.
Inside we were again welcomed by folks and in no short time I met my Guardian for
the day's trip – Carl Lum. He introduced me to his wife and sons who were also
Honor Flight Guardians. As we sat, Carl handed me a tote bag full of items ranging
from edible treats, to a pad and pen, bottle of water and other items too numerous
to mention. Everywhere in the auditorium people were introducing themselves, photos
were being taken by two professional photographers along with the rest of us.
To my surprise, I learned that our Congressman, Rob Wittman, was in the room and
sure enough he approached me and we were shaking hands while exchanging a few words.
Soon we heard the sound of the well-known Williamsburg Fife and Drum Corps coming
into the hall and walking down the aisle to the front stage. The sound of their
flutes and drums was so stirring that we welcomed these young people with a big
round of applause. Next we were asked to stand as our flag with its military
escort walked in with regimental precision to the front. We all joined in saluting
our flag followed by the singing of our national anthem. I don't believe there was a
dry eye in the whole audience. We were welcomed and honored as World War II military
for our service during the war by the leader of today's Honor Flight trip.
Personally, I could feel my chest swell and I was sitting a bit straighter given the
pride I was feeling. Our Congressman, followed by an Assemblyman, also welcomed the
veterans, thanking us for our service to our country. (I tell you if I weren't 87
years old I'd be ready to join the U.S. Navy all over again)!
We were now told the buses were ready to load. The Fife and Drum Corps led us out
the door where I was surprised to see two rows of our military lined up leaving a
pathway for we vets and our respective Guardians to walk to the bus entrance. As I
said: “Goodbye-for-the-day” to my wife we spotted several motorcyclists representing
the Vietnam War vets revving their engines in front of the the two buses .. they
were escorting us out to the main road. Unbelievable!!
What a send-off we were given all taking place at 6 a.m. in the morning!!! I had
such a lump in my throat as did others; the honor we received this morning was
almost overwhelming, and, to think our day's trip was just starting. What lies
November 4, 2011