By George Rickey
The board of directors and volunteers of the Eastern Iowa Honor Flight want to thank the community for the assistance in helping us complete a record year, as well as many news organizations that have covered our flights.
This year, we were able to send four flights of veterans and their guardians to Washington, D.C. Whether you contributed money, served as a volunteer, performed at the airport welcome home, served as greeters at the airport or just showed up with your handshakes and applause, because of your efforts, many of these veterans received the “welcome home and thank you” that many never got at the end of the war.
While it is often said that time diminishes memory, we can tell you that time has not diminished these memories and smiles of our veterans. To listen to them recall stories and experiences during their trip is akin to observing a living history lesson. It is the mosaic of these smaller, individual stories that give us the bigger picture of sacrifice, service and, ultimately, success.
Our priority is still to seek out and provide the trip to any World War II veteran who is able and willing to go. That population grows smaller by the day.
We are accepting applications from Korean War veterans and taking them if space is available after filling the flight with World War II veterans who have applied.
Many is the time we hear from a veteran, or a veteran’s family member, that they do not feel they are worthy of such an honor. We tell them: “Whether you never got out of basic training, or you fought through every conflict in the Atlantic or Pacific theaters, or Korea, the bottom line is that when the country called, you answered.”
If you served, you earned the right to go on the flight.
We are now beginning to plan for the 2013 flight season. We are a federally recognized non-profit organization of all volunteers. As such, we are dependent on the support of corporations and individuals to enable us to carry out our mission.
If you know a veteran who would want to go or are interested in learning how you can become involved, visit our website at www.eihonorflight.org or email us at eastern
l George Rickey is coordinator of public and media relations for Eastern Iowa Honor Flight. Comments: email@example.com