Memories of an Honor Flight

It truly was an honor to be my Dad’s (Don Van Elzen) Guardian and go with him on the Sept 2013 Old Glory Honor Flight to Washington D.C. 

The Old Glory Honor Flight is a one-day trip from Appleton to Washington D.C.  We left early in the morning and flew to Reagan National Airport in Washington D.C. We were greeted on the tarmac at Reagan with a Water Cannon Salute by two fire trucks.

As we disembarked from the plane, we were greeted by a local elementary class waving American flags and cheering on the veterans.

From there, we boarded onto the coach busses and proceeded to the World War II Memorial in the National Mall. At that memorial all the honor flight veterans gathered to take a group picture. From there, we proceeded to the Korean War Memorial, then visited the Lincoln Memorial and stood on the steps of that memorial where Martin Luther King Jr. made has famous “I Have A Dream” speech. 

Then we went to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. There are 58,272 names carved on the wall, my Dad found the name of a soldier he knew: our neighbor when we lived on Lamers Road in Kimberly, his name was Rex La Duke.  Looking back on our trip to D.C. I would say this memorial was the most moving and emotional of them all. 

After touring the Memorial’s at the National Mall, we loaded our busses and visited the Iwo Jima Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery and saw the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and witnessed the changing of the guard there. 

This one-day trip for our veterans is amazing, we saw so many sites in such a short amount of time all thanks to the wonderful people that work and volunteer their time with the Old Glory Honor Flight.  Their motto:

It’s Never Too Late to Say Thank You

My sister Lori completed the application process and our Dad was approved for another Old Glory Honor Flight! So, in May 2020 a group of Korean War veterans, along with the Honor Flight Board of Directors, will be taking a 10-day trip: Return to Korea – I have the honor and privilege of attending as his Guardian again.

Honor Flight is truly a worthy cause and gives back to those who have sacrificed so much for us.

Joe

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