Honoring our Nations Veterans at BGM

 

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.

Photo by Jen Lasher

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.

Once all the veterans were loaded onto the 3 busses that awaited them, they were off to see the sites. Their stops included: Photo by Jen Lasher

Arlington National Cemetery,

the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier,

the United State Marine Corps War Memorial, Photo by Jen Lasher

the Vietnam and Korean War Memorials,

Photo by Jen Lasher

Photo by Jen Lasher

and of course the World War II memorial.

      Photo by Jen Lasher    

 

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.

 

Photo by Jen LasherPhoto by Jen LasherPhoto by Jen Lasher

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.

Photo by Jen Lasher
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.

Photo by Jen Lasher

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.

Federal Shutdown affects BGM Families

As part of my job at the airport I field the phone calls that come in about general airport questions. With my cheery greeting and knowledge of MOST things BGM my job is complete when I satisfy their needs and leave them with the friendly / family like feeling about BGM.

Well, some days that’s not very easy. Lately I get calls asking if the traveler’s flight will be affected by the federal government shutdown. It’s great for us that I can inform them that their flight is unaffected. We always want our travelers to be happy. But the truth of the matter is that your flight is unaffected but our “BGM Family” is affected by it.

Our TSA agents and our FAA workers are all included in the government shutdown. Yes, they are federal employees. They are required to come to work every day but are not receiving paychecks. They smile at our travelers and put on the happy BGM face when really it’s not all roses and happy feeling inside.

As each day ticks away during the shutdown, those smiles become more difficult. The jobs that they love doing here at BGM (and every other airport) become less appealing. Yes at some point in time they will get paid but if I asked you to come work for free and I’ll make it up to you at some point in time, how eager would you be to get out of bed?

Consider this when you are going through any airport during the government shutdown. Tell them “Thank You”, let them know that the traveling public appreciates what they are doing.

To our federal employees and all the other federal employees at every other airport across America, THANK YOU!!!!!! We hope this ends soon and try to keep smiling.

~Jen Lasher

Update: 10/11/13 Shout out also to our family at the National Weather Service at BGM. They too are affected and working without pay. THANK YOU NWS!!!