Monday, December 28, 2009

The Greatest Generation

This day - September 19th, 2009 - was, absolutely, one of the best days of my life.

PawPaw was flown, courtesy of Honor Flight, to Washington, D.C. to see the memorial honoring the work of America's World War II soldiers. Through a turn of events and many phone calls, I was able to go along! The Honor Flight group is just fabulous! They had everything from breakfast to medical care to wheelchairs available for these octogenarians. The veterans were met with cheering and much fanfare at the meeting spot, the Atlanta airport, the Washington airport, and back at home again. It was so wonderful to see the honor given to these soldiers; they were all so thrilled and appreciative.

Once we arrived at the memorial, who should meet us but Bob & Elizabeth Dole! Despite his insistence on needing to ride in a wheelchair all day, PawPaw miraculously recovered just in time to meet Elizabeth Dole. She was so wonderful and gracious to all the veterans; PawPaw would probably say his conversation with her was the highlight of his trip. Bob Dole is primarily responsible for the memorials existence. He tries to meet with every group of veterans that comes so he can thank them for their service in person.There was another grandchild-grandfather pair in our group.Here is Mr. Bill, another veteran, and our fabulous chaperone, Joe Bryant.PawPaw, an Alabama boy, now lives in Georgia. He was deployed with a Missouri group because of some delay in his training/processing. We couldn't get a good picture by the Missouri pillar because it was being cleaned.

Each of these 4,000 stars represents 100 Americans soldiers who were killed during WWII."Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices." ~President Harry S. TrumanWe also saw the Changing of the Guard at Arlington National Cemetary. As the change was about to occur, the soldier in charge asked everyone to stand out of respect for the fallen. Upon hearing this request, every veteran there - whether able to or not - stood up. Suddenly there were empty wheelchairs everwhere. These men had seen death and they appreciated the soldier's sacrifice. The whole group of veterans from the Fairburn, Georgia area: The bus ride was wonderful as well. I learned (and videoed) a few of PawPaw's actual war memories and heard stories from many of the other men as well. All this was done with patriotic music from the 1940's playing and a candy bag being passed around. I loved being able to just be with PawPaw all by myself. I'm not sure if we've ever done anything just the two of us; it was so great to have no distractions and just be able to listen.Just look at these men - men of honor, men with stories. Yes, absolutely one of the best days of my life.

**Special thanks to Grammie & Grampa for making this wonderful day possible!**


Anonymous said...

Thanks for sharing this AWESOME story!!! Yes, with tears in my eyes for many reasons I am writing this!!! Thanks to ALL of those who have fought and are fighting for our country!!! What a blessing in so many ways, Lydia!!!


Anonymous said...

Thanks Lydia and thank you to all those who made this trip possible for my father.

Rebecca Nugent said...

Wow, what a fabulous story, Lydia! We love that monument, too. So impressive.

Grammie said...

I am just now catching up on the blogs, and what a wonderful tribute to Paw Paw and all those who served for our freedom! I'm soooo glad you made this trip with your sweet Paw Paw!