Honor Flight praised

To the Editor:
Oct. 29 was the culmination of the extraordinary efforts of a group of people who organized the Honor
Flight program for Toledo and the surrounding area. This core group and an extended group of civic
minded organizations and citizens made it possible for over 2,000 veterans to travel to Washington,
D.C., free of charge, to see the memorials dedicated to their service. The veterans and their guardians
were also able to pay their respects to the men and women now laid to rest at Arlington National
Cemetery by witnessing the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
I had the privilege of escorting four veterans on three of the flights from Toledo. Witnessing the
outpouring of recognition and appreciation from the morning sendoff through the evening events that
welcomed them home will always be a treasured memory for me. Hearing stories of where and when they
served gave a personal touch to the information learned in past history classes.
I would have very much liked to have been a part of the final flight celebration but my application to be
a guardian with Cleveland Honor Flight was selected for their flight on that same day. We met a group of
veterans from Kansas at the WWII memorial and another group from central California at the Air Force
memorial. Word came down that there would be approximately 300 veterans in town that day and between the
Toledo and Cleveland groups they accounted for about half of that number. When the Cleveland group
arrived at Arlington we were followed closely by the orange shirts from Toledo.
Northwest Ohio can be very proud of the veterans who have served. You should be equally proud to know
that the program created to honor the veterans was far and above what other Honor Flights might be
doing. If you personally know someone who helped, extend your thanks.
I would hope that this community would honor the Honor Flight staff, past and present, by making them the
grand marshals of the holiday parades in the cities throughout the region. They may say they didn’t do
much but you won’t convince any of the families who were touched by their actions.
Thank you to everyone involved who helped add another chapter to the life and times that is Toledo and
northwest Ohio.
John F. Heminger
Genoa