Thursday, November 11, 2010

Triangle Flight of Honor Salutes Our Veterans of WW II

The following is a guest post by Abandoned Allies supporter and friend Lisa Sullivan. Lisa had an incredible opportunity to witness a Veteran’s Day celebration last week, and she shares her story with us here.
"To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service and with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us and because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace and justice in the councils of the nations…" 
-- President Woodrow Wilson, official proclamation in November 1919 marking the celebration of Armistice Day, later re-named Veteran’s Day in 1954.

About 1,500 people welcomed the Veterans at RDU last week.
Read President Wilson's words and you can’t help but instantly feel them. Each year on November 11th we pay tribute to those that served for our country, those that continue to serve, and--even though it’s not in the official proclamation--the families that support them.

Last week, I witnessed one of the truest forms of celebration I have ever experienced thanks to the Triangle Flight of Honor program.

On Thursday, November 4, 2010, a plane carrying 100 Triangle area World War II Veterans and several volunteers departed Raleigh-Durham International Airport bound for a day-long trip to Washington, D.C. Their mission is to make it possible for aging Veterans to visit the memorials that were erected in their honor. The plane departed early in the morning to much fan-fare, including a water cannon salute, and returned to just as much celebration. It was the return that I had the chance to experience….and I’m so glad I did.

Banners welcoming the Veterans were hanging up at RDU.
In the atrium of the RDU parking garage that separates Terminal 1 from Terminal 2, folks from Triangle Flight of Honor, the local USO Chapter, and several Boy and Cub Scout troops gathered to hang banners, pass out flags, ready the coffee and refreshments, all while the National Guard Band plays for the guests in attendance – nearly 1,500 of them! I was one of the 1,500.

Photos honoring each Veteran were on easels at the airport.
When I arrived, they had already set up the poster-sized photographs honoring each Veteran complete with a bunch of red, white, and blue balloons attached to the back of the easel with which it stood. Those Boy and Cub Scouts I mentioned were passing out their flags, good-sized ones too. I grabbed a cup of hot coffee and proceeded to walk around the area near Terminal 1.

Lisa's Grandfather
Tears filled my eyes. While I didn’t have a grandparent in attendance, my grandfather served in World War II. As a matter of fact, his platoon was on the ground days after D-Day. He experienced the wreckage and carnage that was left behind.

 As a child, I remember stories he would tell every time a military show came on the television or a documentary was screened or a holiday came around (Memorial Day and Veteran’s Day). I had to be there last Thursday for him. As I type this, I still have tears in my eyes.

At the welcome home event, there’s a lot of waiting. You have to get their early to see everything, and of course grab a prime viewing spot for when the Veterans return. But when they do return the crowd roars, the band plays, and there is not a dry eye in the house. Watching those men return to a celebration that’s just for them, watching their eyes light up at the numbers of people in attendance, and as they see their loved ones waving with flags or signage in hand--it’s truly something.

The Triangle Flight of Honor program is a nonprofit organization that relies on donors, sponsorship, and volunteers to make this happen for Veterans. The group aims to give all World War II Veterans in the area a chance to see the memorials in Washington in their honor. What they do is remarkable and it’s an honor just to be there.

The organization will be making another trip in February of 2011 and possibly in April as well. For more information, please visit Maybe I’ll see you in the crowd in February.

Lisa at the Triangle Flight of Honor event last week.
Lisa Sullivan is a social and new media specialist assisting with the film’s marketing efforts. You can find Lisa at For more of her writings, visit her blog –


Annie Beth said...

How wonderful to have an organization that does that. This post made me cry.

Camden Watts said...

I cried as well, AB! :)

Lisa Sullivan said...

I just teared up reading it again...and I wrote it!

Thanks, Ladies. Our troops deserve our support, love, and prayers. May God BLESS each and every one of them. :)

Anand Rathore said...

Soldier’s Ghost

I bled for you – would you for me?

I blessed a skin in blazing fuel
Then took a bullet in a duel of
‘He or I to Die.’

I often question ‘Why? ’
Do you?

My country was my life to give –
Would you for country cease to live?
Sinking in a mire of death,
You have no choice –
So while you’re still alive,

I cried in failure – did you care?
And as I waned, were you aware of
What I did –?
Fighting for my country while you hid
Behind your comfort back at home?

Still relaxed?
My wife and child are fading at the tomb.

Copyright © Mark R Slaughter 2009

Anand Rathore said...

As John F Kennedy said “A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces but also by the men it honors, the men it remembers”. Character of a society is reflected in the manner it demonstrates gratitude and support to the brave men and women who protect the nation ensure people are free to pursue their dreams. And as our own Kautilya , the great political strategist, wrote to Chandragupta Maurya centuries ago: “The day the soldier has to demand his dues will be a sad day for Magadha. For then on that day, you will have lost all moral sanction to be king”.

To this I add, “If you cant stand behind our Armed forces, feel free to stand in front of them!”

Karlie said...

I flew out of RDU the same morning they were leaving - it was so awesome to see. Great recap, I'll have to go to the Feb. 2011 return!