I Witnessed My First Honor Flight Welcome Home Ceremony!

The Parade of Veterans Dring the Honor Flight Welcome Home Ceremony at the Southwest Florida International Airport in Fort Myers, Fla., May 4, 2019.

Saturday, May 4, 2019, for the first time I witnessed the return home of an Honor Flight. The Collier-Lee Honor Flight (Mission 19) arrived first followed by the Southwest Florida Honor Flight at Southwest Florida International Airport.

A Student Thanks a Veteran During the Honor Flight Welcome Home Ceremony May 4, 2019, at Southwest Florida International Airport in Ft. Myers, Fla.
A Student Thanks a Veteran During the Honor Flight Welcome Home Ceremony May 4, 2019, at Southwest Florida International Airport in Ft. Myers, Fla.

It was the most beautifully, patriotic event I have ever seen. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people came out to thank and support these veterans who served in all branches of the military in either WWII, Korea, and/or Vietnam.

People waved flags, held up signs, handed out gifts and cards all in the name of gratitude to these veterans who selflessly served this country. We clapped and cheered as the parade of veterans made their way through the airport terminal. There was a lot of handshaking and thanking them for their service. And of course, there were tears of patriotic pride while observing this beautiful, happy occasion.

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno Thanks a Veteran During the Honor Flight Welcome Home Ceremony May 4, 2019, at Southwest Florida International Airport in Ft. Myers, Fla.
Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno Thanks a Veteran During the Honor Flight Welcome Home Ceremony May 4, 2019, at Southwest Florida International Airport in Ft. Myers, Fla.

What is an Honor Flight?

If you’re not familiar with an Honor Flight, the non-profit organization transports veterans to Washington, D.C., so they may visit their respective memorials (WW II, Korean, and Vietnam). The trip provides both honor and closure for many participants.

Honor Flight Hubs are always seeking volunteers and guardians. A friend volunteered as a Guardian on a recent flight and did so after witnessing a Welcome Home. I attended the May 4 Welcome Home ceremony with her and her family. A Guardian accompanies the veteran to ensure they have a memorable and safe experience during the journey. This includes physically assisting the veteran at the airport, during the flight, and while in D.C. While the veteran does not pay anything, especially since they gave to their country, guardians make a donation to cover expenses (from what I can find, that donation is $450).

Know a WWII, Korean War, or Vietnam War veteran who should participate in an Honor Flight? Find an Honor Flight Hub here to get them enrolled. There is no fee for participating veterans. They have already paid.

In Southwest Florida, learn about the Collier-Lee Honor Flight at www.collierhonorflight.org and Southwest Florida Honor Flight (includes Charlotte and Sarasota Counties) at www.pchonorflight.org.

Video: Honor Flight Welcome Home to Southwest Florida International Airport, May 4, 2019

If the video doesn’t play, visit this link.

Thank you to all who are and who have served.

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Solo Travel Girl

Jennifer A. Huber is the voice behind Solo Travel Girl. She's an award-winning travel and outdoor blogger and writer in Southwest Florida. Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., a hiking trail led her to a career path in the tourism industry for more than 30 years. She spent a decade with a park management company in Yellowstone, Death Valley, and Everglades National Parks. She founded the travel blog, SoloTravelGirl.com with the goal of inspiring others to travel alone, not lonely. Jennifer holds a Travel Marketing Professional certification from the Southeast Tourism Society, is a certified food judge, member of the NASA Social community, and alum of the FBI Citizens Academy. When not traveling, she is either in the kitchen, practicing her photography skills, or road tripping with her dog, Radcliff.

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