Honor Flight 2010 Summit held at BWI

Honor Flight 2010 SummitBob Morrison brought up wheelchairs and Glen Anderson and Don Wiedle showed off a new lightweight chair that is relatively inexpensive.  Dan Curtis of RC&D (just back from Afghanistan) mentioned a program in Kansas where prisoners renovate bikes and wheelchairs for redistribution. Chairs are damaged in transit but necessary to get the job done.  Bill Dukes has brought three Honor Flight hubs online in South Carolina and showed a film clip of a trip one of the schools in his area had sponsored.  Brian Spence of Kansas is a school superintendent. He gave a a wonderful talk on his experience getting his students involved. They do both the fund raising and come along on the trip.  Senator Dole ALWAYS shows up for Kansas.  In fact, it was generally agreed that Senator Dole just always shows up. All send their regards!

Several new flights were represented and I believe they benefited by the experience and discussions on the intricacies of getting a WWII veteran to Washington and back safely. Earl talked about simple dangers like the height of airport sidewalks and the vulnerability of the Veterans as they make this grand adventure.  He is always exuberant, enthusiastic and positive.  And attentive to the amazing safety record Honor Flight has.  

On a celebratory note, Marion Watkins delivered a baby boy this Friday named Giacomo Simon Henry Watkins! He’ll be visiting the Memorial at a very young age as his father Seth is in all things an enthusiast of the first order and will have the kid greeting veterans and taking photographs while still in diapers. I am looking forward to seeing everyone.  Unfortunately Jeff Miller wasn’t able to attend as he is running for Congress and all of Honor Flight will be temporarily moving next year to North Carolina so we can vote “early and often”! On Saturday night, we watched videos made by the Honor Flights and they were so moving that the hankies were out and whoever was working the lights kept the room dark so all those grown men and women weren’t seen tearing up.  I would like to remind everyone that the Library of Congress has the “VETERANS HISTORY PROJECT” and videos, photographs and stories can be submitted for posterity. I will research this and report back. Given the enormity of the Honor Flight project, I hope everyone understands that their work is is going to define the very best of American culture and aspirations and their work needs to be preserved. 

It was a very informative and unifying event and I personally had a good time and I
hope you all did too! I’m voting for another mid year conference just because Honor Flight people are very cool!! ..AAAANNNDDD speaking of cool, George Kerestes was there wearing his shorts ang getting ready for Florida.  Nothing worse than a retiree actually acting like he’s retired!  Kudos to the BWI Hilton which really did a great job of hosting the event.

FINALLY…there is going to be a new HBO program called “œThe Pacific” which was produced by Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg.  Because of their involvement and experience transporting Veterans, Honor Flight has been asked to participate in opening ceremonies to be held at the WWII Memorial on March 9-11. Should be interesting and Honor Flight will benefit by the publicity and succeed in moving another 200 vets to the WWII Memorial.

Honor Flight is featured in the revisedJewel of the Mall: World War II Memorial book.


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