Delco re:View Summer 2019 - 24

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TOUR OF
HONOR FLIGHT
I closed I - 95 and the Blue Route
on Sunday, June 2, 2019!
Respectfully Submitted by Richard A. Mitchell, Esq.

U

nbeknownst to me, my son
Rich submitted an application
on my behalf to Honor Flight
Philadelphia, an organization that has
multiple volunteers who provide a free
day, all inclusive, for Vietnam Veterans
that were never welcomed home from
their service in Vietnam. Unlike other
returning veterans from other wars, we
were, let's just say, disrespected.
Our day started out with coffee
and doughnuts at the Lamb Tavern in
Springfield who fully honor those who
have served our country in the military.
We then boarded three buses bound for
Washington, D.C. We had police escorts
all the way for our 106 (3 were female)
Vietnam Veterans and one Korean War
Veteran.

On to the World War II Memorial, after
which, by continued police escort, we
traveled to the Air Force Memorial. We
were treated to a drill demonstration by
the United States Air Force Drill Team.
A delicious lunch was then provided by
Mission BBQ. The founders of Mission
BBQ, Bill Kraus and Steve Newton, honor
veterans, having recently donated $1.3
million to the U.S.O.!

Wawa graciously provided us with
breakfast for the ride, as the Wood family,
owners, fully support and honor veterans!
We put on our hats and t-shirts that
identified us as veterans and we were off!

24 | Summer 2019

All during our day in Washington,
school teachers, children and civilians
made sure we were thanked for our service
to our nation. What a great feeling that
was - 50 or so years after the fact!
After an emotional hour at the Wall,
we were back on our buses - with our
police escorts. Obviously, rush hour
traffic was no problem for us!

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Wall Honoring the men and women
who served in the controversial Vietnam
War, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial
chronologically lists the names of more
than 58,000 Americans who gave their
lives in service to their country.

Our arrival at Arlington National
Cemetery, known as the most sacred
ground of our country, was timed to allow
us to view the changing of the guard
and wreath laying ceremonies from our
favored position closer to the action than
all other spectators assembled.

as we did; some sketched the names on
tissue paper provided to us; others simply
left a memorial at the Wall, symbolically
thanking our brothers for giving our nation
the ultimate sacrifice, to ensure that the
freedoms which we all enjoy today will
continue for all of us.

After lunch, we went to the Korean
War Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial.
We then walked to the Vietnam War
Memorial - The Wall - as it is now
referred to affectionately. While at the
Memorial, many of us identified the names
of our buddies who did not make it home

During the ride home, our bus
"Guardian'' as our volunteers are called,
Tom Oliva, held "mail call." As anyone
in the military knows, this is the most
important time of the day. During
our Vietnam service, mail call might
be delayed days or weeks - we looked
forward to it whenever it was. Inside our
envelopes, for each Veteran, were letters
from school children, adults, and members
of a group called "Soldiers Angels," each
letter thanking us for our service to our
nation and honoring us with words that
we were their "heroes." Let me say right
here and right now, not one of us felt like
a hero. We feel that the true heroes were
our comrades in arms that did not make it
home as we did.
Shortly after entering Pennsylvania on
I-95, Tom, our Guardian, announced that
he had a couple of his friends that wanted
to say hello to us at the rest stop. His


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