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May 26, 2013

KELLY: Taking a ride on the Honor Flight - part II

(Continued)

That welcome sure got us in a happy mood for the rest of the day. We then boarded a beautiful tour bus and headed for our first stop, the World War II Memorial. You could see the excitement in the veterans’ eyes as we approached the monument. This is what we came to see, and we were not disappointed.

It was fabulous, not only in structure but in location. It was sandwiched between monuments to two great men, George Washington, our first president and known as The Father of Our Country, and Abraham Lincoln, the president who led the fight to keep our country unified. That alone was a great honor to the more than 400,000 men who perished and the 16 million who served. You may have noticed that liberty does not come cheap.

We entered the monument at the Pacific Pavilion, on the floor of which was the World War II Victory Medal, and went past the state pillars to the freedom walls’ Field of Stars Memorial to the 400,000 WWII dead. We assembled as a group as the colors were presented and a wreath laid. The honor of laying a wreath was given to Mary Mohr, our only female Army veteran. A group picture was taken and many Asiatic and other tourists also photographed us.

While I was looking at the Field of Stars a little 10-year-old boy came up to me and said he wanted to have the honor of shaking the hand of a WWII veteran, another touching moment that will be a lifetime memory. I wish I had done that when I was a little boy, seeing Civil War veterans on Memorial Day.

Everyone was then taking pictures as we strolled around past the Atlantic Pavilion to the Lincoln Memorial.

Most had their picture taken in front of their home state’s inscription. An inscription in the wall written by President Harry Truman says, “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.” 

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