Honor Flight of Idaho 2013-A True Honor – Part 1 of 4
By Paul Donovan, Veteran, Heart ‘n Home Volunteer
The Honor Flight of Idaho, Program Director, Lance, met everyone that would journey to Washington D.C. at the Boise Airport at about 1:00p.m. and the 25 World War II Veterans and the 18 “Guardians,” the care takers of the WWII vets, all greeted each other with marked enthusiasm. Sue Paul, the Director of the Warhawk Air Museum was also there to join us on our journey. Watch the video – Inside an Honor Flight.
We hastily went through the Airport Security, one at a time, met by the “Patriot Riders” from Boise, with their white shirts and black vests on, holding steadfast to their American Flags and greeting all of us as we went by on the way to the TSA men and women. When we had all got through Airport Security, we were met by General Saylor, his Command Sergeant Major, and his entourage. We were also met by General Goodale, his Command Sergeant Major, and his entourage as well. It was all smiles and handshakes wishing us a safe and wonderful trip. The Generals and their staff walked with us as we pushed the wheelchairs of “The Greatest Generation” down the ramp to the gate where we would leave from.
At Gate 17, we were greeted by The Boise Police Departments two choir members in full-dress uniform. We were also greeted by bagpipe players in Scottish kilts, and lining the gateway where we would go down the ramp to the plane was an Honor Guard of Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marines. As soon as the Generals gave their farewell speeches, the Boise P.D. Choir sang the National Anthem, as we all joined in. Goose bumps the size of Denver were the order of the day for all present. Even the rest of the passengers waiting to board the plane sang, with hand over heart, some crying. At the end of the song, the cheers were immeasurable! It was time to board the plane and immediately, the Marine Corps Honor Guard First Sergeant gave the command, “Honor Guard…Atten-tion! Pre-sent…Arms!” and their sabers were raised in an arch where we went under, down the ramp to the plane to deafening applause.
We were on board a Southwest Airlines 737 jet, the National Sponsor of “Honor Flight” where their representatives, also present greeted us and waved their “so longs”. Lance, our mighty leader, had informed us earlier that we would all be sitting in the back of the plane to make it easier for other passengers to board and deplane quickly and we “slow folks” could take our time and move at our own pace.