A few times a year they take WWII veterans on a one day trip to the WWII memorial. This time our church was helping sponsor the trip so there was a lot of talk around church and town about it. Ben asked Grandpa if he would like to go and jumped right on the opportunity. Every veteran has to have a "guardian" travel with them to Ben went along to "guard" Grandpa. For weeks he has been reminding us of the trip and talking about it. It was fun to see the excitement and anticipation building.
On Tuesday they left here at 5:30am and rode to the airport on church buses. They were escorted by all sorts of police and firetrucks. Grandpa said he had "no idea how they could even see to drive with all those lights flashing"! They had a catered Waffle House breakfast then landed in Baltimore around 10:30am.
They traveled all over DC. Everywhere they stopped to visit, there was someone there waiting to thank them for their service. Many political figures and even an Army General took time out of their day to come out and speak with the group.
After a busy day in Washington they all boarded a flight to head home. While eating a steak dinner on the plane, there was a mail-call. We were all secretly asked to write letters to our soldiers. We were told there would be a surprise mail-call on the plane like when they were in war. Grandpa said reading all the letters from the family and seeing his great-grand children's artwork was icing on the cake. They also received letters from the boyscouts and state officials. In the words of Ben this entire day "was a first rate operation!"
They arrived back at the airport about 10:15pm. Little did they know there would be a few hundred people plus soldiers waiting to give them a proper welcome home. Flags and balloons were flying and banners were waving. The looks on the faces of these men were priceless! I think I teared up 3 or 4 times. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for all.
Here are some pictures of Grandpa Comerford's Homecoming
All the soldiers lined up to welcome home the Veterans
Maybe Grandma is a little excited?!
Here they come!
Grandpa shaking hands with everyone thanking him for his service
Fun day with new friends
You can't even tell it's 11:30 on a school night! :)
All the way home Grandpa told us stories of his day. The new friends he met, the people who kept shaking his hands and thanking him, the good food, the letters, he loved it all. When we dropped Grandpa and Grandma off he hugged Ben and thanked him for a great day. Then he said, "I've never been so appreciated before."
Think about that the next time you see a man in a WWII hat. He fought for you and your country. He shouldn't have to travel to Washington DC to be appreciated. Thank him where he is.