Once again a memorable evening spent with some of America’s Greatest Generation. They are dwindling in numbers these amazing men and women, but they still stand tall and walk proud.
On Saturday, October 25, 2014, the Southeast Florida Honor Flight paid tribute once again to these brave men and women who went off to war to defend our nation. WWII ended 69 years ago and a lot of them didn’t come back, but for every one of them that did, they have the opportunity to get up very early in the morning and fly to DC for a day.
During an emotional and event packed day, they visit Arlington National Cemetery, the WWII Memorial, and several other venues. There is the air of renewed camaraderie, solemn remembrances, gratitude, and so much more. Everywhere they go, they are given the Red Carpet treatment that they so richly deserve. Keep in mind, it isn’t easy on these guys and gals…they’re not kids anymore. Every one of them is in their late 80’s and early 90’s.
When I stand along the sidelines as these heroes pass by, some walking, some in wheelchairs, I am humbled to have the chance to shake their hands. I know that for every one of them that I do get to shake hands with, I am also shaking the hands of the spirits of those who sacrificed everything on battlefields like Remagen, The Bulge, Omaha Beach, Anzio, Bataan, Iwo Jima, Midway, and so many other battles, as well as those that have passed away since; they are all present. Those spirits followed them all day long and they are being honored as well.
As always, many hundreds of onlookers and well-wishers were on hand to greet them. Boy scouts, military cadets, veterans from other wars, family members, and an entire community of people who understand that these men and women deserve our undying admiration and respect.
Among those in attendance were David Reback and his family of, count them, 15 children; two of which had the honor of escorting our heroes on the Flight. I had the chance to chat with Mr. Reback for a few minutes, and while our conversation was very casual, there was no mistaking his emotion for the day, and the pride of having his daughters be a part of the event. And that level of emotion and gratitude is all that can be asked for.
I don’t know how many more such events will take place, but I just hope and pray that all of our remaining WWII Vets get a chance to enjoy one of these very memorable days. God bless them and keep them safe.