…the people who still care

Good Morning Everyone, (from Earl Morse)

I don’™t know what the weather is like in your part of America, but here is Ohio it’s one of those wonderful perfect spring days. Warm, sunny, with a little breeze blowing. Spring is everywhere and inescapable. Flowers coming up in every yard and about everything is blooming or starting to bloom. What a change from a few weeks ago. We’™ve had a colder than normal winter with snow that didn’t seem to stop or melt for months. In the midst of the deep freeze, everything was dormant or dead. Now, a complete reversal with just about everything coming to life. People are out walking around the neighborhood. You can feel a renewed sense of optimism, hope and expectation in the flowery, sweet smelling breeze.

I can’t help but think about our World War II Veterans who have been sitting on our waiting lists all over the country.  I wonder how many of them fought winter depression, loneliness, and the pain of arthritis that is ALWAYS worse in the winter.  I know that a lot of them are also coming back to life.  The sights, smells and warmth of spring must be effecting them as much as anyone else, perhaps even more.  Something else that Spring brings are tours to D.C. for these same veterans.  About 250 of them got a head start on the year (10, 11 and 12 March) thanks to HBO, American Airlines and Marriott Hotels.  HBO picked the veterans (Pacific theater only), the cities they wanted to target (Chicago, Canton-Akron, Boston, New York, Philly, Baltimore and Orlando) and the organization to make this all happen in your organization, the Honor Flight Network.

There is absolutely no way HBO would have picked us if it wasn’™t for the reputation that all of YOU have built.  You’re tireless efforts and selfless determination have proven to HBO and the rest of the country that our organization cares.  Our sacrifices are small compared to what WWII veterans have sacrificed and were willing to sacrifice. Our accomplishments are tiny compared to what they have accomplished.  However, the one thing we are better at and more determined to achieve is to recognized, honor and display before the nation who they are! Their selflessness, courage, patriotism, and humility make WWII veterans almost a different breed of people.  As we continue to grow and almost explode across the country, I have discovered that the rest of the nation feels the same way we do.  WWII veterans have earned this, they deserve this and more needs to be done to help even more of them visit THEIR memorial.

The WWII veterans don’task for much.  They just don’t want to be forgotten, but mostly they don’t want the sacrifices of their friends to be forgotten.  They need to know that Americans still care about who they are and what they’™ve done.  YOU are making that happen.  You are changing their lives, the lives of their families and you’™re changing our communities as well.  Those who have already been and those waiting to go have a renewed sense of hope about our country.  Many WWII veterans even have a deeper appreciation for what they were fighting for what their friends died for.  As veteran Burton Showers says in the interview, Coming into the airport, into D.C., was one of the most inspirational things I’ve gone through.  But it was great to know that Americans still cared.  It was something.  I’ll never forget it.

What an honor and a privilege we all have!  As Tom Hanks says, “Guys who would not be able to make the trip, get to make the trip and we do all the work for them? Well that’™s just about the coolest thing I’ve ever heard!”  You people and your crews actually make this happen which makes all of you some of the coolest people Mr. Hanks and Mr. Spielberg have ever heard of.

Tomorrow is Easter.  There is a springtime spirit of renewal, growth, celebration and joyous expectation.  As the 2010 touring season kicks off, I just want to let all of you know how proud I am of your efforts, commitment, and selflessness to honor those who THOUGHT they were forgotten. YOU are the Americans who œstill care and you’™re leading the way for the rest of the nation.  The Honor Flight Network would not exist if it wasn’t for all of you.  This morning I was reading in Hebrews 10:24 where it says, ….”and let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.”  I couldn’™t help but think of you.

Please enjoy this video.  You all have earned every bit a praise given to you, your program and our reputation as Americans who still care.


Earl Morse, Captain, USAF Retired
Physician Assistant – Certified, MPAS
President and Co-Founder

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