Thursday, June 14, 2012
World War II Veterans
Today I watched a video about a plan that landed on May 23, 2012 at Reagan National Airport. It was an Honor Flight of World War II veterans. The video showed how people from all over that section of the airport came together to welcome and honor the veterans as they exited the plane. They cheered and clapped, and shook their hands as they exited the aircraft. A few of them were part of the official welcoming committee, but most were just travelers who were waiting for their own flights. The gate attendant announced that the flight was coming in and encouraged those passing travelers to join in welcoming the veterans. It was a warm and welcoming salute to honor them, not one that was planned months in advance, but one that just happened. I wish I could have been there to be a part of it.
I did however have the honor of traveling on the Amtrak Coast Starlight train with two WW II veterans. One served in General Patton's 4th Armored Division. The other was a Merchant Marine. He is 94 and his wife 86. They were married the day after the war ended. That means they have been married 66 years.
It is not often that one has the chance to meet these heroes as there are fewer every year. I have had the pleasure of meeting several over the years and have been honored to do so. If you every get the chance be sure to thank them for their service because if not for them you might be speaking German today and living under the rule of the Third Reich.
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