To the Editor:
I was privileged to be included in the second Veterans Honor Flight of Southern Illinois trip to our nation's capital on Oct. 17. There were 68 veterans on board — 38 from WW II, and 28 from the Korean War. I was one of the latter group, serving from 1952 to 1954. We each were accompanied by a "guardian," and the entourage was filled out by nurses, guides, and several media people with cameras and recording equipment.
This Honor Flight organization — there are several across the nation — is headed by retired Vice Admiral Nancy Brown who does a magnificent job of fund-raising and pulling together a large group of volunteers for the twice a year event. My hat is off to this great lady and her staff of volunteers.
I had been told there would be some surprises, and the most spectacular of all was the "Welcome Home" reception we received at the Veterans Airport at Marion. We were greeted by hundreds of cheering people, bands, choirs, bagpipers, fire trucks, Scouts, CAP students and other groups, and a multitude of people waving flags and handing us "goody" bags. I'm sure I heard "thanks for your service" at least 200 times. It was heart-warming to know that the folks honor and revere their military veterans. I was proud to be a part of this edition of the Honor Flights.
Dr. Dave Auxier