A Hero’s Welcome
Thirty–five World War II Veterans returning home were welcomed by hundreds of family and friends, two honor guards, a water arch and a high school marching band!
The group had flown to visit the National WWII Memorial in Washington D.C. as part of a national non-profit organization called Honor Flight.
“Honor Flight was started in 2005 by Earl Morse, a Physician's Assistant who cared for WWII veterans on a daily basis,” said Susan Howe, Secretary of the Northern Arizona hub of Honor Flight.
“He asked one of his patients if he would want to see his Memorial in Wash DC. The response, the veteran broke down and cried and said he would love to go but did not have the means to go...and from that Honor Flight was born!”
Veterans are flown back east at no cost to them as well as escorted by Honor Flight volunteers.
“From the minute these veterans arrive at Sky Harbor Airport to the minute they return home after a 3 day journey, these veterans are applauded, cheered, thanked by people of all ages,” said Howe.
The veterans were officially welcomed back home by the Phoenix Fire Department with a water arch over their Southwest Airlines plane. After getting off the plane, the Shadow Mountain High School Marching band welcomed the veterans home with patriotic songs. Family and friends held signs and the entire crowd cheered. It was a heart-warming sight.