April 17 – Just a week ago yesterday, we successfully completed our first Honor Flight Mission of 2016 to the Nation’s Capital so that 48 Honored Veterans could view and reflect at their Memorials. The day began at 3:00AM when staff and volunteers began arriving at the airport to greet our Veterans and Guardians. Among them were numerous uniformed members of the Timber Lake High School JROTC, who seated our Vets in wheelchairs curb side, and helped them in the terminal. Our day’s Honorees totaled 48 Veterans – 24 who served us during WWll, 12 during the Korea War, and 12 during the Vietnam War. Our oldest was 94 and our youngest 66. Three served during WWll, Korea and Vietnam. 46 were men and were joined by 2 women. They came from as far away as North Carolina and as close as our own Winter Park. Our 48 Guardians came from as far as Kansas and as close as Winter Park. Our youngest passenger was 13 and a World War ll historian. He came as a Guardian to a WWll Veteran he knew personally who he encouraged to apply to Honor Flight. Like our other Guardians on the trip, his Mother came as well and also donated her time and trip cost to join another Honoree in a very special role for the day. At 5AM we conducted a sound off, and with our entire travel group of 96 plus our Paramedic team and Staff, we headed towards security and on to have breakfast at our gate. Another of the day’s tributes was staged at the security area, as the TSA Honor Guard raised Old Glory to salute our Honorees. That was the start of a long day we hope was full of tribute, respect, and Honor for our Veterans. Our day’s travels took us to the WWll, Korea and Vietnam Memorials, the Iwo Jima and Air Force Memorials, the Women in Service Memorial, the Navy Memorial, the 9/11 Pentagon Memorial, and Arlington National Cemetery to witness the changing of the Guard at the Tomb of The Unknown Soldier. Words cannot begin to describe the emotion stirred when visiting these solemn places. To get a visual recap of this Honor Flight Mission, please jump to our website and go to our photo gallery to see the many albums of over 1,000 pictures put up by Staff Photographer Paul Riccardi along with videos captured by our Videographer, Alan Kornman. If you traveled with us or took pictures at the airport, you can upload them on our website as well to share with the Honor Flight Central Florida family and others that visit our site. We hope you enjoy the great pictures and post some of your own!
For those joining us at our Flight Mission Reunion on April 30, we look forward to seeing you again, and hearing your stories about the trip. There is limited seating for Guest, but we may have room. Those with interest in learning more about Honor Flight Central Florida by attending the reunion event should e-mail us at:
firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “reunion”