Twin Tiers Honor Flight – One Final Mission for Local Veterans
I knew that Veterans Day weekend this year was going to be an exceptionally emotional one. I mean, how could a trip through the Twin Tiers Honor Flight with 24 veterans to Washington DC not be? I knew that seeing the memorials and names of those lost written in stone would twist my heart. I knew looking at the faces of our youngest military members would make me think of my own little boy and wonder if he'll grow up and follow in their footsteps.
What I didn't know was that pushing my new pal Pep, a 91-year-old World War II veteran in a wheelchair through mobs of people is what would break me. The genuine thankfulness and respect I saw on the faces of so many strangers when they saw Pep and realized that he's a WWII vet was beyond what I'm capable of expressing with words. Dozens and dozens of people took the time to shake Pep's hand or nod to him, or say "welcome home, soldier."
According to the National World War II Memorial, of the 16 million Americans who served in WWII, an estimated 620,000 were still alive in 2016, however, an estimated 372 veterans are dying each day. I'm awful at math, but my calculator tells me that there are, on average, 134,664 veterans who will have died by the time this year is over. Let that sink in. Within the next five years, more than a million veterans will no longer be with us and many of those veterans will never have the chance to visit their memorials in Washington DC. To grieve, to find closure, to pay their respects to fallen comrades, and to receive the thanks and the respect that they themselves deserve. However, you and I can do our part in our little corner of the world by sending our local veterans to their memorials through the Twin Tiers Honor Flight. Every dollar counts when it comes to making these trips possible, so if you've got a buck or two to spare, please consider making a donation.