I will warn you in advance of scrolling down to the photos that they are not my best work. The sun was streaming through the concourse windows straight at me when I shot them. I had to move fast to capture shots in a small space as the group moved past me. My low battery light was blinking angrily at me. And, I am still the greenest of amateurs, especially under these circumstances.
With that caveat clearly stated, I hope you will read on…
While waiting for my v-e-r-y delayed flight home, an announcement rang over the loudspeaker in Terminal 4. “The World War II Veterans arriving from their visit to Washington DC will be arriving shortly at gate D7. You will recognize them by their yellow shirts. Please stand to greet them.” It was then that I turned around and noticed for the first time the young color guards holding the United States and Arizona flags and the young soldier in his dress blues.
You might recall from past posts that I spent roughly half of my childhood growing up in Western Europe or my deep love of Normandy, France. With that experience and passion comes a deep appreciation for The Greatest Generation. After standing at Pointe du Hoc and looking out at the now calm seas of Normandy, attending a Memorial Day service at the American Cemetary in Margraten, visiting Anne Frank’s House, and standing on the grounds of the Dachau concentration camp, among other things, being around any WWII veteran nearly brings me to tears.
And so as I tried to hold back the flood gates in my eyes, I stood in humble awe at the roughly 20 men and one woman who walked through the door of gate D7. Honor Flight Arizona is a non-profit organization that transports WWII veterans to Washington DC to be honored at their memorials. As Memorial Day dawns, I can’t help but think of the 10,000 young men (and handful of women) who gave their young lives on D-Day. I can’t help but think of the many other solidiers and civilians who suffered and died around the globe during the course of World War II. I am forever grateful to their sacrifice and feel very honored to have been temporarily graced by the presence of a few of the veterans who helped change the course of history.
Veteran Photo #2. The veterans gather behind the color guards and walk through the gate to the baggage claim. Some of the veterans were in wheel chairs, and some used walkers, but many of them were as spry as these gentlemen.
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