I gotta say, this assignment was one of the greatest honors I've ever been given as a photographer. For as long as I can remember I have been fascinated w history. War history in particular. It's always been difficult for me to wrap my lil mind around the amount of courage and sacrifice the brave men and women of this country have had to call upon during these moments in time. And it's just completely fascinating to me, what they have endured.
Honor Flight gives Vietnam and WWII veterans a trip of a lifetime. The organization flies around 50 vets to D.C for 3 days to see the war memorial that have been built in their honor. For some of these vets,, the WWII ones in particular, time is of the essence. There aren't many of them left and providing them this opportunity will often time be one of the last chapters of their lives.
This particular trip was for Vietnam veterans and I cannot accurately articulate what this wknd meant to the men and women who were on this journey. However, hopefully these words from one of our Honor Flight veterans will give you all a true understanding of the impact this trip had on their lives.
Dear Honor Flight Nevada,
I can't adequately express in words my gratitude for being included for the Oct 3-5th trip. I'm sure you have heard many stories from grateful VETS who have been on these trips. Here is mine.
My twin and I were born and raised in the Air Force. Our whole world was the military. Looking back, we could have had a more enriched upbringing and childhood experience.
Like so many other BRATS, we chose to join the military after high school. Paul entered the USMC in 1965, I followed early in '66.
While stationed at Camp Pendleton in August of 66, I was told by my commanding officer that my twin brother Paul, had been killed in action.
Later that fall, while stationed as NAS, Jacksonsville, FL, i was bothered by a constant twitch in one of my eyes as well as a deep down aching inside. A young Navy Dr explained that the eye twitch was most likely caused by the emotional trauma I was experiencing. Time heals, soon after, the eye twitch stopped.
But the aching persisted. For the past 50 years, I have often felt that ache, as well as the survivor's remorse and regrets, and constant reminders of all the ill treatment experienced by so many who gave so much.
During my experience on the Honor Flight, a change came over me. Reaching up to touch Paul's name on that wall and surrounded by my comrades, I experienced a feeling of peace for the first time in all those years.
After I returned home, the quilt, stayed in it's protected cover for several days while I contemplated where it should be kept. Then one evening, I took it out of the cover and sat back in my favorite chair. As as I sat there with that beautiful quilt wrapped around me I began to feel that peaceful contentment again and the ache finally went away. I'll have it by my side always.
Thanks so much to you and everyone who has had a part in this very healing experience. Please feel free to share this letter with them. On behalf of all VETS, you folk have done a wonderful thing for us