It doesn’t get much better for Palm Beach International Airport than when they become host to a Southeast Florida Honor Flight for our Veterans. This past Saturday was one of those days. In the wee hours of the morning, eighty-two WWII Veterans got up extra early and made their way to PBI with their guardians for the day to take part on such a flight with the Southeast Florida Honor Flights.
In case you haven’t heard about it, Honor Flights are being conducted around the country to escort our Veterans of WWII; and as soon as possible, Veterans from Korea and Vietnam will be so honored at their respective War Memorials in Washington DC. Every effort is made to contact all of these heroes and get them to and from the airports and around DC, and finally back home; and it is done so that they have a great time and a memory they’ll never forget.
For the most part, except for a handful of well-wishers, the terminal was empty when these men and women departed for DC at O Dark Thirty on Saturday morning.
It’s a hectic day of travel; they flew to DC, visited the WWII Memorial, Iwo Jima Memorial, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and Arlington National Cemetery, had a nice lunch, and then headed back to the airport for the flight home. And that’s when it really gets good; you see, few, if any of them are aware of what awaits them upon arrival at the airport. The plane is greeted with a Fire Truck escort and crosses under an arch of water from the hoses.
Once at the gate, everyone is carefully and gently deplaned and ‘stalled’ so that they can all head up the terminal together. That’s when they start seeing what’s waiting for them at the turn. As this short video courtesy of the PB Hogs shows, first the bagpipes fall in line in front of them, led by a PBSO Trike with lights a blazing. The moment they turn into the main part of the terminal, they are greeted by the cheers, handshakes, hugs, and singing of the over 2000 Patriots that came out to welcome them home.
While we were waiting for them to come up the aisle, I had the chance to chat with a few of those who came out; one of them Mr. Norman Cabana was on the last Honor Flight and was proud to now be on the welcoming end. When the Vets came up the ramp, nothing but tears of joy, the A Cappella tunes of the ‘Sunsation’ Quartet, laughter, and the warmth of what makes America great filled the terminal from one end to the other, and it was indeed a day no one involved will ever forget.Add a comment