On May 4, my wife and I had the opportunity to drive to the Charleston International Airport to welcome home veterans who had visited the World War II and Korean War Memorials. The flight to and from Washington DC had been arranged and paid for by the Hero Flight program.
As we waited for the veterans to disembark the plane, I observed the folks waiting to greet them. Young and old, they each had an American flag. Some folks had old photos of men and women in uniform, possibly family members who were killed in action. Some were Boy Scouts, some were there to support a particular veteran. Others, like myself and my wife along with a few other members of the C. T. Lowndes & Company family, were there just to say thanks and let the veterans know how much we appreciated their service.
The bagpipers started playing as the veterans finally made their way through the terminal. Flags were waving and the first veterans came into sight. Many were in wheelchairs, many were walking with assistance, and some looked like they were ready to go off to battle again! Many had big smiles, many shed tears, and all appeared tired (they had departed the airport about 5AM that morning).Keep in mind these men are in their 80s and early 90s.
I think all the veterans were in awe at the size of the crowd and the joyous greeting they were receiving. As I stood applauding these brave men, I wondered if they had experienced something like this back in 1945 when they returned home. Afterwards, I had the opportunity to shake a few hands and thank the veterans for their service. I think one gentleman, a Korean War veteran summed it all up when he told me “this is the best day of my life
What a debt of gratitude we all owe to all those in the armed forces!!