Quacker Factory would like to recognize and celebrate American Veterans and their families for their patriotism, love of country, and for preserving the amazing freedoms we have to this very day! We are so incredibly grateful for your heroism and your sacrifices!
Earlier this year, we were able to participate in an exciting program for US Veterans and their loved ones that has been taking place throughout the US for approximately 11 years! It is called the “Honor Flight Network (HFN)”! It was created by a Retired Airforce captain, a physician’s assistant that wanted to honor Veterans he cared for over 27 years! His dream was to transport those who may never have had the opportunity to go to Washington DC to visit and reflect back at the memorials and history! It is totally free for ALL Veterans!
This past July, Bob Halpern, a Quacker Team member’s father, (Page Hammett’s dad) received a call from the organization. (HFN) tirelessly tracks down these men and women who are former veterans. They offered him an adventure of a lifetime! He had not heard of the program and was moved to tears at the invitation to take a chartered commercial airliner, along with a companion of his choice and a plane filled ONLY with other Veterans from his hometown to Washington, DC. What a treat!
At the 6:00am flight departure from West Palm Beach, Florida, firetrucks were waiting at the tarmac and hosed the plane while alarms rang out. Upon landing in DC, hundreds of people met the runway with a band and the same fanfare!
My dad said, “Everywhere we traveled, police escorts stopped traffic to let us through. The weather couldn’t have been more perfect and each site was a special moment to capture an image in your mind of these sights seen so many times in pictures. The statue depicting the raising of the flag on Iwo Jima is so impressive and of course, world famous.”
“I visited Audie Murphy’s tombstone. He was one of the most decorated soldiers in WW2 and was buried in Arlington National cemetery. He became a movie actor in Hollywood prior to his passing in 1971”, Bob said.
The “Changing of the Guard” at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier takes place 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and carries on through any weather. It is manned by Tomb Guard sentinels. This group is considered to be the best of the elite 3rd U.S. Infantry at Fort Myer, VA.
“My Dad doesn’t get around quite as fast as he used to”, said Page; but the smile on his face in this picture showed me a very happy and proud father and I am honored to be his daughter.
At 10 PM that evening, the American Airlines plane landed back at West Palm Beach airport and fans from adjacent cities again lined the terminals for a welcome home greeting that the men and women weren’t expecting. All of Page’s siblings (including her daughter Lauren) surprised him by being there to meet the group!
Bob described the trip as one of the most meaningful experiences he could recall. “You could feel the electricity in the air and the excitement of the crowd cheering on people that they didn’t even know. You could feel their love and support,” he said. He met soldiers from all across America and they all vowed to come back and take another trip in the next few years. Mind you, a few of these men are over 90 years of age! 🙂
For those of you who would like to learn more about the “Honor Flight Network”, here is the website: https://www.honorflight.org/regional-honor-flight-hubs/
Maybe your Veteran loved one would enjoy this wonderful tribute that honors the service and sacrifices of this noble group!
AGAIN- A HAPPY, QUACKY, VETERANS DAY TO YOU!
Our Mission: To transport America’s Veterans to Washington, DC to visit those memorials dedicated to honor the service and sacrifices of themselves and their friends.
Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization created solely to honor America’s veterans for all their sacrifices. We transport our heroes to Washington, D.C. to visit and reflect at their memorials. Top priority is given to the senior veterans – World War II survivors, along with those other veterans who may be terminally ill.
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