Monday, June 18, 2012

One Veteran's Honor Flight

On June 2nd, the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight flew two planes full of World War II veterans from Milwaukee to Washington, DC to see their memorial.  One of the veterans on the Bravo flight was greeted by his family at the WWII Memorial.  As the day progressed, Ed Heinecke's son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter met him at each location we stopped at.  This included a trip to the Korean War Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, and Iwo Jima.

There are so many amazing stories that occur during each Honor Flight.  These images tell just a little bit about the story of what type of day these heroes have.  At about 4:30am, General Mitchell begins filling up with WWII veterans and their guardians.  It's an early beginning to a long, emotional day touring Washington, DC.

 When the Honor Flight lands at Dulles International Airport, the veterans are greeted by over 200 people celebrating their service to our country.
 The first stop is at the World War II Memorial.  As the veterans walk around, they are greeted and thanked by other members of the military, as well as the other visitors to the memorial.

  Vice Admiral Dirk Debbink spends time greeting Wisconsin veterans.  He grew up in Oconomowoc and makes a point to visit with the veterans from his home state for every Honor Flight.

 Watching the changing of the guard at Arlington National Cemetery.
 The Marine Corps War Memorial, also known as the Iwo Jima Memorial, is the last stop for the day.    At this point, we board the buses for one last time and head back to the airport for the return flight to Milwaukee.  Before leaving, heartfelt thanks and good-byes are shared between Ed and his family.

 Mail call is the highlight of the return flight.  Family members, friends, school children, and many other people have written special notes for each of the veterans thanking them for their service.

 Over 6,000 people were waiting in Milwaukee to give these WWII veterans a true heroes welcome!

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