Written by Jennifer Lasher
Honor Flight is a national organization that flies our honored veterans to Washington DC to visit the memorials that stand in their honor. On April 12th, the first Twin Tiers Honor Flight, a chapter of the national organization, departed Greater Binghamton Airport with over 75 veterans and their guardians to Washington DC. The veterans aboard this flight represented World War II, the Korean War and one terminally ill veteran from the Vietnam War.
Although the day started out with foggy skies the veterans never lost their smiles and waited patiently while the fog lifted so they could head down to DC.
The veterans were welcomed in Washington DC by the Fire Company at Dulles Airport who showed their thanks by displaying flags from their fire trucks and showering the plane with water as they arrived at the gate. Inside the terminal the veterans were greeted by the Washington DC Honor Flight members, along with several active duty military families.
They were shocked by the overwhelming gratitude they were shown as they exited the gate. But the welcoming did not stop there as the veterans were greeted by a local girl’s tennis team and employees of the airport. These veterans were thanked, hugged and treated like celebrities as strangers asked to have their pictures taken time and time again.
Arlington National Cemetery,
the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier,
the Vietnam and Korean War Memorials,
and of course the World War II memorial.
Throughout the day, the guardians on the trip assisted the veterans with wheelchair needs; beverage and food needs; took pictures of them and for them and listened to their stories. The bond between the veteran and guardians blossomed and you could see it come through as they shared so many memories and heartfelt moments together.
When the day was completed, the veterans and their guardians boarded the plane to head back to Binghamton. When they arrived at Greater Binghamton Airport the Welcome Home Celebration that awaited them was more than any of them could have imagined. Bag Pipers, Honor Guards, American Legion Riders, Active Duty Soldiers, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Girl Scouts and hundreds of community members made up the crowd waiting to welcome the veterans back. Each veteran was announced by their guardian and loudly cheered for by the large crowd as they entered the hangar.
The Greater Binghamton Airport was pleased to be able to take part in such an awesome movement to thank the veterans who have made this country what it is. They are often called the greatest generation and, after experiencing this day, we can see why. They fought for freedoms yet discovered and for people that they didn’t even know.
To see more of the photographs from the Twin Tier Honor Flight follow this link: Twin Tier Honor Flight Photos
Jennifer Lasher is a Broome County Department of Aviation employee, a professional photographer and also took part in the Honor Flight trip from Binghamton to Washington DC.