Saturday, July 4, 2009

Guest Blogger- Honor Flight

I am thrilled and proud to have my Dad as my first guest blogger on this patriotic day that we celebrate as Independence Day here in the United States. Here he goes....
I have had a very great experience recently- I was honored to be included with World War II Veterans on a trip to Washington D.C, and went along with one of my five sisters, Annie.

Honor flight was started in Springfield Ohio by physician and pilot Earl Morse. Earl wanted some of his patients who were World War II Veterans to see the World War II Memorial in Washington D.C. Check out Honorflight.org . It is now a national program with 42,000 veterans taking the trip by the end of 2009. It is free to the veterans.
Hello! My name is Bob Millat and I was in the U.S. Army in Korea after World War II and my sister Annie Beall was a nurse during the war & was stationed in the Phillipine Islands. I still salute my sister since she was an officer. My brother Dave was also in the war and was also stationed in the Phillipines and then on to Japan.

Our Honor Flight trip started @ 6:00 A.M. when we boarded a commercial plane at Dayton International Airport. There were about 80 veterans with about 15 in wheel chairs. There were also about 20 volunteers that were extremely helpful.

We got a nice send off at the airport by Congressman Mike Turner. Mike was previously the Mayor of Dayton. Mike we need you back in Dayton.
All during our travels we were acknowledged as World War II veterans and received cheers and applause on the plane and in the airports. It was very heartwarming to receive cheers as we entered the main concourse in Baltimore. Cheers from all the crowds was a real thrill.

I sat next to a veteran who was a navigator on B-25 bombers. His plane was stripped of armaments and guns to be lighter and was used to get our troops by parachute into the heart of Europe. He said they always flew at night and in the worst weather and very low to the ground. They lost 100 planes and crews for every 200 flights. He was lucky.
We visited the World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War Monuments. Also Lincoln Memorial, Air Force Memorial, Iwo Jima Memorial and were able to see the changing of the guard at The Tomb of The Unknown Soldier. There are about 350,000 graves at Arlington Cemetery. It was very special to be greeted at the WW II Memorial by Elizabeth and Bob Dole.
They made a special effort to meet each group of veterans and express their respect and thanks for serving their country. My sister Annie (on the left) was really pleased to get her photo with Mrs. Dole. Her husband was overseas in the Pacific Area for 33 straight months. One of the biggest thrills was at midnight as we got home in Dayton. The Honor Flight organization arranged to have hundreds of people that cheered, waved flags and clapped as we made our way into the main terminal at Dayton Airport. There was even an honor guard and a big sign “ WELCOME HOME VETERANS.” My sister Annie said that was just what she needed. When she came home from the war, she arrived at Union Railroad Station, and there was no one to welcome her home. There was a mix up on the time she got home, so she had to take a taxi to her home all alone.
There were terrible wars in our country’s history. The following statistics of Americans killed are just awful. Civil War 600,000. World War II 400,000. Korean War 52,000. Vietnan War 55,000 and now Iraq War 4,000 and growing.

I think it’s about time that the citizens of America start a major campaign to create a big time memorial to peace. I can see it now a PEACE MEMORIAL that would be a big showplace. Remember what Rodney said?

“WHY CAN’T WE JUST GET ALONG”
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2 comments:

Andy said...

Thank God for our veterans! Thanks, Dad, for your service overseas, and for the selfless sacrifice of Uncle Dave, Aunt Annie, and so many others who didn't return. You are living links to a past that we must never forget. I don't care how many times you tell the stories, I love to hear them again!

Andy Millat

Dianne said...

Such a wonderful post. Thanks so much for putting it up. My mother-in-law made an honor flight about a month ago and it was a thrilling experience for her. I don't think there is any way we can express enough thanks to these wonderful men and women for the sacrifice and service they have given for the freedom of our country.