March 29 is Vietnam Veterans Day – a day set aside to show honor and respect to all those who served in the Vietnam War. While there is a Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall in Washington D.C. to commemorate these veterans, many Vietnam War vets only dream of visiting this memorial. However, The Honor Flight Network could provide them with an opportunity that they never thought possible. Image: HonorFlight.org
The Honor Flight Network is a nonprofit organization that transports veterans from across the nation to Washington D.C. to visit the memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifices. While it started with World War II veterans in mind, this offer is now extended to Korean and Vietnam War veterans. The inaugural Honor Flight was in 2005 out of Ohio, but has since expanded to 127 hubs in 41 states. By 2012, over 98,500 veterans were transported to D.C. to see the memorials.
Once the veterans land in D.C., their day is packed full of exciting activities. A crowd welcomes and greets them to thank them for their service. Then, they go straight to the memorial for a tour, get a catered meal, then a short tour of downtown D.C. Although many of these veterans are elderly and in wheelchairs, they are helped and accommodated throughout the trip.
These trips can be life changing for veterans. One Vietnam vet said that he hadn’t slept well in the 42 years since the war and he got nightmares every time he slept. However, after his trip to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall, his nightmares ended and he slept peacefully. Another vet made sure his obituary stated that visiting D.C. was one of the highlights of his life. Not only is it a life-changing experience for these vets, but it also has therapeutic value and gives these heroes some closure.
The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall has a glossy, black, reflective look and extends for two acres. The 58,267 names are in alphabetical order and are seen by around 3 million visitors each year. With the Washington Monument sitting beautifully in the background, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall was ranked 10th on the “List of America’s Favorite Architecture” in 2007.
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Posted on March 27 2017 in Blog