July and August were too hot and humid to go to Honor Flight at the World War II Memorial – as evidenced by the reduced number of hubs that would arrive there. Today marked my resuming Honor Flight escorts, and as you’d expect by now, it was one heck of a day.Once I got there, I was told that there were 7 hubs arriving this morning. SEVEN. That translated into a lot of veterans! There were already a large number of people gathering at the entrance area of the memorial, word had gotten out. We had Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, US Navy Chiefs, Young Marines – and that’s just the organized uniformed people!
Unfortunately, again the sheer intensity and energy of the day chased away remembering to take many pictures with my phone. [tweet “One of these days I should get one of those GoPro cameras and film the whole morning instead.”]
There are a couple of things that stick out in my somewhat unreliable memory.
There were a lot of Korean war veterans. I’m not sure if this is because the hubs have opened their criteria for veterans to include this group more, but it reminds me that our time to get these veterans to their memorial is growing shorter every day.
Although not World War II related, I also remember meeting a US Navy veteran who had been on the USS Forrestal in 1967, when an accidental launching of a Zuni rocket started a chain reaction that killed 134 men, and almost killed the now-Senator John McCain. That incident was both a demonstration of the sheer tenacity of sailors, as well as a wake-up call about ship-board damage control and fire fighting as it was understood then. It occurs to me that when I went through damage control/fire-fighting school before deployment, some of what I was taught came from the USS Forrestal accident – as indeed the whole incident has become one of those “teachable moments” in time.
Pictures on the next page