The ripple from World War II can still be felt across the country, but the depth of these ripples don’t get any deeper than those found in the hearts of the WWII veterans; men who put their lives on the line for freedoms that are so easily taken for granted today.
Thanks to Western Slope Honor Flight, tomorrow, October 5th, 110 of these veterans will take off from the Grand Junction Regional Airport to begin a 37 hour journey that will take them on a whirlwind adventure to the memorials in Washington D.C. that were forged in their honor and in honor of the other men and women who gave their lives so many years ago. Tuesday’s flight will be the third trip organized by Western Slope Honor Flight, and the Grand Junction Police Department is proud to again be part of this community event.
The Honor Flight program began in 2005 when twelve veterans flew to D.C. from Springfield, OH, and has grown into a national recognition of the veterans who gave so much for their country. Statistics from 2008 show we are losing approximately 1,000 WWII veterans a day. Honor Flight gives these heroes the recognition they deserve.
Last May was the first Honor Flight the GJPD assisted with. Several officers and civilian employees were on hand to help the veterans up the stairs and into the plane. From the moment the first vet stepped onto the tarmac you could feel the goosebumps and the warm hearts. The vets had the biggest smiles; smiles that were contagious for the officers and fire fighters who had come to help. In fact, the plan was to only have the officers get the vets onto the plane and then they would be done, however once that was accomplished the officers decided to line up with their police cars as the plane taxied to the runway for takeoff, giving the vets a saluted send off. And that was just the beginning of the memorable moments this event created for our employees.
“Please know that your sacrifices, and the sacrifices of those who did not make it home, will forever inspire generations to continue to make our country the best on Earth.”
-Police Chief John Camper (quote from a letter to the veterans)
The amazing atmosphere that surrounded the Honor Flight was only magnified as the vets returned home to an airport packed with people, bands, and honor guards who came out to say thank you for their service. Just try to imagine how much red, white, and blue there was! That is why we hope you will join us to welcome the vets home on Wednesday, October 6th at about 6:45pm at the Grand Junction Regional Airport. It’s your chance to feel the flood of emotions the Honor Flight brings for both the veterans and the community.