Our WWII veterans, and Honor Flight (One last mission)

I realize that Memorial Day is set aside to honor those who have died in service to our country. Still, I want to put a spotlight on this organization that provides a great service for veterans, particularly those who served during WWII. All of the men I knew who served in WWII and Korea – relatives and friends – have now died.

Honor Flight, The Organization

Our Mission: To transport America’s Veterans to Washington, DC to visit those memorials dedicated to honor the service and sacrifices of themselves and their friends.
Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization created solely to honor America’s veterans for all their sacrifices. We transport our heroes to Washington, D.C. to visit and reflect at their memorials. Top priority is given to the senior veterans – World War II survivors, along with those other veterans who may be terminally ill.

Of all of the wars in recent memory, it was World War II that truly threatened our very existence as a nation—and as a culturally diverse, free society. According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, an estimated 640 WWII veterans die each day. Our time to express our thanks to these brave men and women is running out.

Honor Flight, The Movie

Honor Flight is a heartwarming documentary about four living World War II veterans and a Midwest community coming together to give them the trip of a lifetime. Volunteers race against the clock to fly thousands of WWII veterans to Washington, DC to see the memorial constructed for them in 2004, nearly 60 years after their epic struggle.

The trips are called “Honor Flights” and for the veterans, who are in their late 80s and early 90s, it’s often the first time they’ve been thanked and the last trip of their lives. The 24-hour journey is full of surprises that deeply move all who are involved. It’s uncommon for World War II veterans to talk about the War, but the Honor Flight experience brings their stories out. Many veterans say, with the exception of their wedding day and the birth of their children, the trip is the best day of their life.

However, success is all but ensured. 1,000 World War II veterans die every day and getting them on an Honor Flight in time is a constant battle. The film features Orville Lemke, a former plumber and beloved father of nine who fights to hold off terminal cancer so he can make the trip, and Julian Plaster, an 89-year-old poet who has survived almost all of his friends and family.

Watch this movie, if you have the time. The personal remembrances of the veterans absolutely tore at my heart.

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9 Responses to Our WWII veterans, and Honor Flight (One last mission)

  1. G-d&Country says:

    The upheaval of society in the 60’s makes it so much more important to have this generation’s thoughts, viewpoints and stories preserved. NOTHING since then has happened like what they lived through in WW1, the great depression, and WW2. It is scary in a way that in a comparatively few years there will be no one left alive who lived through this to tell what it was like. There is great value in these stories. My father would say “shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves in three generations”. I pray when these people are gone their valuable lessons live on so that we, as a country, do not share in going back to “shirtsleeves” either economically, and even more importantly, culturally and in terms of loss of understanding of true freedom.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Sharon says:

    There was a very active group working Honor Flights out of Fargo, ND during the years we lived in MN. Grant’s b-i-l (who died a few years back) was one of those who made that happen and traveled with on some flights to assist the veterans. It was remarkably well done and greatly appreciated within the region.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sharon says:

    In the late 1990s, there was a bus display that moved around the midwest presenting information about the WWII POWs from the region. We made a point of being there the day it showed up in Fergus Falls. I will never forget getting on the bus and beginning to orient, visually, to the displays that were presented and then seeing, near the back, an old man, sitting on a stool, in an old uniform. I worked my way back there to learn that he was the POW representative from our area. He had been in Stalag 1, as I recall in the far north of Germany, for a long time. I had to ask him, of course, if I might give and receive a hug. No finer privilege could have been granted, and of course, he graciously exchanged a good hug with me.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sharon says:

    Well, I’m sitting here in tears. One week ago today, exactly, was the 100th anniversary of my own father’s enlistment in the Navy where he was eventually assigned to a troop ship that moved back and forth across the Atlantic to bring the boys back home, including my uncle who had been in the trenches in France, was gassed, and never fully recovered. Became blind in his late years. Developed personal faith in Christ in his last years. I often served as his driver from point A to point B during our years in California, before 1993.

    I would drive down from the Antelope Valley to the Eagle Rock area to pick him up, and take him to his sister’s family’s home in Anaheim…..and he would critique my driving the whole way!….telling me how I was wasting gas, or being too hard on the brakes, etc. etc. etc. God bless the memory of Uncle Adolph, and my father, Immanuel Larsen, Seaman 2nd Class who served on the U. S. S. Plattsburg.

    Liked by 4 people

    • Sharon says:

      My father’s World War ONE enlistment – – – of course!

      Liked by 1 person

    • stella says:

      My uncle Allen was drafted into the army at age 24, and left for overseas July 21, 1918. He served in France until his division was gassed October 7th, 1918 at Argonne Meuse, and he returned to the US almost five months later. He had health problems as a result, and died of heart problems in his early sixties.

      My dad was too young for WWI, and turned down by the Army in WWII, but my brother and lots of cousins served in the second war, and some in Korea as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. czarowniczy says:

    One of our friend’s grandfather flew to DC to push thru the ‘closed’ tapes a few back when they closed the WWII memorial. Big thing for a small town.
    We have more than our share of WWI vets and Korean War vets, more than a few POWs from those wars too. They’re dieing off rapidly, Vistnam vets are closing the gap. An estimated 372 WWII vets die daily (est 620,000 are still alive); guestimated that 500 Korean War vets die daily, VA doesn’t seem too interested in knowing (somewhere less than the VA’s list of 1.8 million Korean War vets are still alive, again who cares?); while somewhere around 2,7 million served in Vietnam and a guestimated 370ish die daily (again, VA ain’t on top of this).
    Numbers problem is that some vets served in WWII and Korea, Korea and Vietnam and a select few served in all three wars throwing the stats into a bit of a spin. I served with a lifer who served in WWII, Korea and was with us in Vietnam, same as my dad did – the VA counts them as each having served in each individual war but each’s single death counts as three. Ain’t bureaucracy wunnerful?

    Liked by 3 people

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