My father spent World War II on a tanker in the South Pacific. Like most men and women who served in the military service during the war, he talked sparingly about what he did. Twice he stood watching torpedoes rushing towards his ship. If he were alive today, I would make it possible for him to be recognized for putting himself in harm’s way.
My friend Bob Hammar recently called and told me about his Puget Sound Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., and spoke highly of the care and concern that was given to each veteran. “The Honor Flight Network recognizes American veterans for their sacrifices and achievements by flying them to Washington, D.C., to view all military branch memorials, at no cost to the individual veteran. Puget Sound Honor Flight aims to serve all veterans who are willing and able to make this trip. We need the support of communities, and businesses in those communities, to continue to provide this opportunity. To date, over 100,000 WWII veterans have made this cathartic journey with the Honor Flight Network.” As WWII survivors have diminished (we lose a thousand veterans each day), honor flights now include veterans from the Korean War and in some specific cases, Vietnam veterans as well.
I first met Bob as a member of the Rotary Club of Tacoma #8. When I was president of the group I asked Bob to be my World Community Services chair for the year. He did a fantastic job of connecting our club with projects around the globe. He stayed as chair for several years. Bob now lives in Steilacoom and is a valued member of the Rotary Club of Lakewood. We’ve been friends for almost thirty years. He always has a story to tell, and when he gushed about his treatment on his honor flight I knew it had to be something extra special. He mentioned veterans swapping stories, being part of motorcycle motorcades and sharing one last “mail call” where friends and family write letters, personal notes, and include photographs “from home” that are shared with others making the trip.
Honor Flight relies on the tax-deductible donations from caring citizens, organizations and corporations to cover the cost for these trips. Please consider donating so that another veteran can share in this unique and impactful journey . . . now, before time runs out. – pugetsoundhonorflight.org
Individuals and groups can sponsor a veteran, donate, lead a fundraising effort, or even apply to be a Guardian, who pays their own way, and is responsible for the safety, comfort and enjoyment of our veterans.
If my father was still alive, I would send him on an honor flight . . . and volunteer to be a “guardian” like other thankful friends and family members have done. Thank you, Bob Hammar for involving us in your honor flight . . . and thank you for serving.