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VIT had the privilege of attending one of the Honor Flights: Incredibly honoring trips that recognize veterans with a visit to memorials in Washington DC.

“I told General Scully, ‘there’s the door.’”

Army veteran Arlin Riley was a cheeky trucking logistics coordinator for Operation Desert Storm. His eyes shift to the airplane seat ahead of him as he remembers sassing Major General Scully,  when he didn’t have the right paperwork for classified documents. “The funny thing is he was the one that gave me my medal of commendation at the end of the war.”

This morning Arlin, was part of a pre-dawn cavalcade of 112 red-capped-veterans leaving Fort Dodge, Iowa for Washington DC. They are taking part in an Honor Flight– a one-day whirlwind trip that recognizes veterans with a trip to the nation’s capitol to visit war memorials.

As we make our two-hour journey, trucking veteran Arlin remembers his favorite truck was the Gamma Goat. “It was amphibious, and they could use it on the deserts too. We took one for the Iowa Fair. We floated it on the lake,” to see the carnival from the water. “We didn’t have permission for that.”

Perhaps the most moving part of this journey is the crowds that wait for the veterans at airport stops and memorials. There is no uniformity here– babies in red, white and blue, high school girls waving signs, middle-aged men in over-the-top patriotic clothes sounding mechanical whistles. 

At most of the stops, these greeters form a shouting, waving tunnel of admiration and gratitude to the veterans. There’s no uniformity because this is America– proud of our heroes, proud of the men that served.

If you would like to support Honor Flights Mission or if you are a veteran that would like to attend one of these trips, then please visit the link below.