First Posted: 10/21/2009
Next Wednesday, a group of 103 World War II veterans will embark on what could be the greatest adventure of their lives, they will be visiting the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. for the first time.
I was lucky and blessed enough to have been chosen to be a guardian on the next Triad Flight of Honor which takes off at 8:30 a.m. on Oct 28.
This past Saturday at the preflight meeting, I was honored to meet the three veterans with whom I will have the honor of escorting for the day, Carroll Wagoner, Edward Reynolds and Otto Langhurst. They are from the Dobson, Elkin and Jonesville areas.
On the morning of Oct. 28, I will wake up at 3 a.m. get ready, then drive to pick up two of the three veterans, as Mr. Langhurst will be taken to the airport by his daughter that morning. We will arrive at Piedmont Triad International Airport by 6:30 a.m. and our chartered U.S. Airways flight will leave at 8:30 a.m.
As we learned last Saturday, once we arrive in Washington, D.C., we will board buses and will have a police escort to the World War II Monument were we should be greeted by former Senators Bob and Elizabeth Dole. A group picture will be taken before the veterans disperse to view the monument, take pictures with one another and talk about their time spent in the war.
Lunch will be served at a tent near the memorial. Then, we will go down the national mall to see the Vietnam Memorial wall, the Korean War Memorial and Lincoln Memorial. Also during the day, we will visit the FDR memorial, the Iwo Jima memorial and the Air Force Memorial before returning to Reagan National to board our flight home.
When I talked to the veterans and guardians who went on the first flight on Oct. 3, they said while they enjoyed the entire day immensely, the best part was when they came back to PTIA and were greeted by thousands of people who came to give them the heroes welcome they did not receive when they came home from the war more than 60 years ago.
While WXII Channel 12 will not have the extensive coverage that they did of the inaugural Triad Flight of Honor, they will be covering the event that day. I hope that as many people as possible tune in and come down to the airport so that these men will receive the same welcome home that the first group of veterans received. The men going on this flight are no less deserving of our thanks and praise just because they were not on the first flight.
WXII will have live coverage from 5 to 7 a.m. that day and also will show the plane as it leaves the terminal going through a spectacular water arch before taking off at 8:30 a.m. That night, they will also broadcast from 8:30 to 9 p.m. when the plane returns to PTIA. Live streaming video will still be broadcast on their web site www.WXII12.com. They will broadcast a final rap-up of the day during the 11 oclock broadcast, and The Mount Airy News will have coverage of the event in the Thursday edition of the newspaper and again on the following Sunday.
This is just such a wonderful opportunity for everyone to go to the airport and welcome these men home and give them the heroes appreciation they deserve.
Mondee Tilley is a staff reporter with The Mount Airy News. She can be reached at [email protected] or at 719-1930.