The Face of a True Hero
A hero isn't a professional athlete or a celebrity. The face of a hero is often unrecognized and unacknowledged.
The men and women who pay the ultimate sacrifice so we may live in a country with freedoms and choices don't ask for accolade or million dollar signing bonuses. They don't do it for the fame or fortune either. They'll tell you they were just doing their job.
Veterans often returned from war and went back to work. Some were even shunned and mistreated. Honor Flight recognizes those veterans with a day as powerful and emotional as the war with visits to the Washington DC memorials in their honor. "Brings back memories, some of these things I see," says World War II veteran Rae Woodard of Camden who shared some of his war stories. "Each ship fired two torpedoes at the convoy. We sunk all four of them, turned and raced out of there and we never lost a man."
The Korean memorial told a different story. US Air Force veteran Vaugh McPherson of Syracuse described it as eerie. "It's scary. Makes you think what they went through."
While some made it home after the war, others weren't so lucky. Soldiers who gave the ultimate sacrifice are buried at Arlington National Cemetery where row after row of perfectly aligned headstones marks the final resting place of so many hundreds of thousands of men and women who laid their life on the line for their county.
The men and women lucky enough to make it home were finally thanked at every turn. When they boarded the Honor Flight in Syracuse. When they got off the plane in Washington. When they visited every memorial in Washington. And when they returned thousands lined the Syracuse airport for a long overdue welcome home. "I never expected anything like that. It brought tears to my eyes," says Woodard.
See photos from the Honor Flight trip and remember, if you see a veteran stop to shake their hand and say thank you. It's the least we can do.