Fantastic Honor Flight Austin
World War II Veterans Forgotten! NEVER in the City of Austin, TX. On April 26, 2013 as 35 WW II Veterans were departing from the Austin Bergstrom Airport, we were greeted by a large crowd of Austin people both young and old cheering and applauding as a Bag Pipe played as we passed by on our wheelchairs.Believe me it got pretty misty as we proceded to board our Southwest plane.Yes Sir! It took 68 years to be recognized back to the states from WW II. Austin out did it self as cannon water hoses sprayed both sides of our plane as we departed for the runways. What we didn't know is that Austin was preparing us for the events ahead.
Arriving at the Washington Reagan International Airport, once again the cannon water hoses appeared as they sprayed both sides of our plane for our arrival greeting.WOW! WOW! Once again hundreds of people young and old applauded and cheered as we wheeled by. Just how does one turn off tears after 68 years.
Permit me to ramble on as I am not half way through this voyage. arriving at the Alexandria Mark Hilton we had dinner and then departed to the Marine Barracks for a full evening of events and to watch the Sunset Parade which consisted of the Marine Corp Band and Drum and Bugle, followed by a close order drill of a platoon of Marines. Note, the Marine Corp Commandant and His Lady were present for this review which lasted late into the evening.
The next morning we hit the trail again early after breakfast at the Hilton. A full day of events layed ahead at the WW II Memorial, The Korean, the Vietnam, the Lincoln, the Air Force, the Marine Memorial of Iwo Jima, and then to the Arlington Cemetary for changes of the Guard performance. The fore mentioned memorials are unforgettable and contain a lifetime of past memories of those who sacrificed their lives for love and country.
Mission accomplished, we departed from the Reagan Airport and once again we were applauded and cheered by yes again young and old.
Never in my life have I shook so many hands with with so many people as they cheered and thanked me for my service. The younger ones were the ones that brought on the misty tears. As we departed once again the cannon water water hoses appeared as we were taxiing out to the runways for a never to be forgotten adventure.
On our return flight. as we were approaching Austin they announced "MAIL CALL !". Never during WW II did I rarely received many letters. Well you couldn't print the emotions expressed by the 35 WW II veterans as the silence said it all Now Mail Call is know as Tear-Misty Time. What caused the emotional tears were the many letters from children thanking for our service. The letters contained colorful drawings.
The letters I received from my Daughter and three Grandaughters all expressing their love and support for Father and PaPa Bob has now and always been my Lifeline.
Before I sign off I want to express my sincere graditude and thanks to my Honor Flight guardian, and Air Force Colonel who guided and assisted me throughout the entire DC venture, once again, Thank you Sir.
A Well Done and a Salute from the 35 WW II veterans is hearby rendered to the family of Vic Mathias,
Also never to be forgotten are the Honor Flight personnel guardians who organized and rendered their unselfish service to one and all. Thanks ya'll, we owe our successfull Honor Flight Austin to you.
Submitted by Bob Hauge, Honor Flight Austin April 26 -27, 2013