A WWII Army Veteran, my father told many stories of basic training at Schofield Barracks just outside of Honolulu. We heard about the 50-mile uphill marches while carrying 100-pound packs in the midday sun with 100 percent humidity. He described his boxing matches (he was super fit and trained hard, but got clobbered every time). We heard about surfing, pig roasts, and bonfires on the beach, many of which lasted until Reveille. We enjoyed my father’s stories very much, but we didn’t realize that he probably had more that he kept to himself.
About 30 years ago while a secretary and student at my state university, I had the privilege of working with a visiting scholar from China. He was polite and charming, brilliant and authoritative, humble and fun-loving, and in complete awe of the way Americans lived, particularly me.
“I was raised to recognize that our freedoms do not come without a price, but from all the sacrifices of brave men and women and their families. That is why I’ve made it my duty to support and honor our Veteran employees and provide Veteran-centric care to patients and their families. ‘Thank you’ is just not enough.” Cindy Lee, RN, CHPN, CHPCA, CEO/Owner of Heart ‘n Home.
WWII-Veteran-Tours-Idaho-National-GuardLooking back over the last one and a half years, my life has been so enriched by meeting and serving a humble and honorable WWII veteran, Gordon Lee. He was one of the first patient assignments I was given as a Heart ‘n Home Volunteer. I met him shortly after his wife passed away. He was so gracious to me, even though he was going through the pain and grieving his loss. We hit it off quickly, as we found out about each others military connections. I remember thinking what an honor it was to serve this man who sacrificed for our country. As the months went by, I learned more about his service. He shared his story with me, and a written version of it as well. I was so amazed at his humbleness in all that he had sacrificed and given.
Recently, I had the opportunity to serve and honor many Veterans who have served our country. This is one of my favorite parts of my job as a Hospice Social Worker and a Representative on our Veterans Committee. This year our committee came up with a unique and meaningful way to thank our Veteran patients on Veteran’s Day.
We arrived at Arlington National Cemetery, a place of extraordinary reverence to all those buried heroes who died defending our nation. We got off the bus, and with very strict instructions from our leader Lance, silence was now the order of the day. Not a word was to be spoken in honor and reverence to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
‘Southwest Flight #..., you are cleared for straight in approach, you ARE number one for landing’.” The Pilot stated, “We would like to thank you World War II Veterans for your service and for flying with us...
It is estimated that 640 WWII Veterans die every day. September 3rd, 2013, a very historic journey began. “Honor Flight,” originally started in 2005 is a program that is designed to take United States War Veterans to Washington D.C. to see their memorial, and other sites along the way.