MOLINE — A group of 100 veterans and their guardians are embarking on the journey of a lifetime.
Thursday morning, sleepy as they may be, the group awoke and made their way to the Quad City Airport to attend Honor Flight of the Quad Cities! The trip is dedicated to all the veterans who will get to see the war monuments erected in their honor.
On the August 31st trip there were 15 Korean War veterans, 83 Vietnam veterans, and two WWII veterans.
Follow along throughout the day as these American heroes experience a day full of honor, reflection, and remembrance.
Their first stop was at Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center of Air & Space in Chantilly, Virginia. There wasn’t enough time to tour the entire facility, but one stop nobody missed was the space shuttle “Discovery.” The pilot of their Honor Flight announced that he “had the pleasure” of piloting that shuttle back in 1998.
Secondly, the vets took a group photo in front of the Lincoln Memorial and then had some time to visit the Korean and Vietnam Memorials. Several veterans used thin paper and pencil to run the names of loved ones from the Vietnam Wall to have as a keepsake.
A short distance away, the veterans spent time at the WWII Memorial. At this memorial, one of the veterans said this day has allowed him to let go of some “bitterness” he had been holding on to. He served in Vietnam and said upon return that he and his fellow servicemen were not treated with respect, and were even made to feel insignificant. His Honor Flight experience allowed him to let some of those bad feelings go, he said.
On to the Women’s Memorial. Two of the Honor Flight attendees and one of the guardians were female veterans and got to reminisce on their service days.
A police escort helped the veterans’ transportation get around all day long. They were driven around in three buses and were able to pass traffic from monument to monument.
Next, at Arlington National Cemetery the veterans and their guardians witnessed The Changing of the Guard.
The Air Force Memorial was the final stop on the journey. The landscape beyond the 270 ft. tall structure showed the Capitol building, offering an ideal place for photos.