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.

Do you know a World War II Vet? Honor Flight comes to BGM in April 2014

The Greater Binghamton Airport is proud to be involved with the Honor Flight Network, a non-profit national organization that works to fly our nation’s veterans to Washington DC to visit the memorials erected in their honor.
Honor flight
There is no cost to the veterans to participate in this program. Honor flight arranges for air and ground transportation as well as meals for selected veterans to enable them time to visit and reflect at their memorial. Priority for these trips is reserved for World War II veterans, along with those from other wars who may be terminally ill. Veterans of other wars are accommodated when space is available. 

DeAnna Deneen, who has recently created the Twin Tiers Hub for the Honor Flight Network, has indicated that she would like to use BGM as the hub airport for the Twin Tiers program. Of course we were very excited to be involved with such a positive program. The Greater Binghamton Airport will assist in arranging air transportation and with the logistics of the departure and arrival from BGM. We will also work as an ambassador of the Twin Tiers Honor Flight program by spreading the word and helping to locate potential qualified veterans. 

The first Honor Flight trip for our community is scheduled for April 12, 2014. At this time we have approximately 27 veterans lined up to participate and are expecting to add more as we reach out and spread the word throughout our region. Each veteran also has a guardian that acompanies them.  The charter flight can hold 100 passengers so there is plenty of room for more veterans. 

To get an application or more information please email Dave Hickling, Deputy Commissioner of Avaition at Aviation@co.broome.ny.us .   Help us to honor those who have fought for our freedom, share this with your friends.

Written by David Hickling, Deputy Commissioner of Aviation.

 photo from briebart.com