A Day in DC

“Somewhere along in the process of guardian training, someone noted that this was a life-changing experience. I'd argue with anyone that was an understatement. As a former EMT of 10 years and current active firefighter, I think I've experienced more than most people, both positive and negative, people at their best, people at their worst. This flight humbled me in ways I cannot even begin to place into words. It changed me in ways I cannot even begin to describe…

Spending the day with my father on this flight was something neither of us will ever forget. Having the opportunity to honor him and the other veterans, to interact and hear the stories, to be part of their experience in Washington was beyond life-changing.

These two words seem so completely inadequate, but thank you.”
— Bill, Sept. 15,2012 SSHF Guardian

“My Dad was overwhelmed and totally happy. It was like a playground for these very special veterans. A playground filled with all of their special friends that shared the common "secret" that only they knew…what it was like to live through those times and those events. They came together with an instant familiarity that allowed them to "fast backward" to the war and all that it meant to them. They were relating on a visceral level. It was beyond description to witness and play a small part in it.” — Pam, Nashotah

“Woke up this morning feeling like I have been run over by a freight train. I cannot tell you the emotions I am feeling. Trying to explain just what happened yesterday. The flight on the 747, then the police escort , Iwo Jima , WW2 Memorial, ending up with the 911 Memorial at the Pentagon. Then the mail call. {How did they ever do that?} . What was happening is that each event was overshadowing the other. Can't get any better that that.{ So I thought}. Then the GREATEST thing of all was the welcome we received at the airport .It was overwhelming. I cannot express how I felt. I will never forget that MOMENT.What can I say except to thank you and your group for the wonderful experience. How can I return the favor? How do I repay you for this feeling I am having? I am lost for words. So, THANK YOU. PS: Could I be the first WW2 veteran to serve as a guardian? ” — Dwain, September 19, 2010 Honor Flight Participant

“This is one experience that I personally will never forget, patriotism in its purest form. People will often tell you of things that they have done that you should experience once in your lifetime like going to Las Vegas, helicopter rides or skydiving. My suggestion is to attend a Homecoming of our Veterans on the next Stars and Stripes Honor Flight.” — Michelle, Milwaukee

A Day in DC

“I knew what you guys did was powerful and meaningful… I saw it and felt it at Field of Honor. But I truly had no idea. You have explained to me many times what (an Honor Flight) would be like… but I never truly understood So as I sit here, and I try to explain what I learned and saw… how it touched my veteran so deeply and how I felt it change me forever… the words aren't coming out. I know I need to be able to explain it so I can pay this gift forward, but for now, I am okay with just being able to hold it in my heart and let the tears come to my eyes. I have never quite felt anything like this before and I am extremely grateful for having been given the opportunity to hold a stranger's hand and pay him the respect he so rightfully deserves.”
— Sarah, Sept. 15, 2012 SSHF Guardian

“All day long in DC I saw tourists approach the veterans and tell them thank you. Also, I noticed none of them said, "Thank you." and then just moved on. All of them stood firm and engaged the veterans to send the unmistakable message, you mattered then and you matter now! The day was filled with smiles, pride, gratitude, stories from the past and a sincere love and respect for one another.” — Ken, Oconomowoc

“Having successfully completed a Doctoral dissertation and started to write a book I have believed I had a good control of the written and spoken word. However, after the welcome home celebration I remain speechless and have to let tears replace words. I'm sure I looked like the proverbial deer in the healights but I was truly overwhelmed with the turnout at Mitchell Field. Each time I describe the day and then the arrival at home my voice breaks and I must stop. Powerful, awesome, incredible, heartwarming, inspiring, beyond description would be how I describe the final hour of the day.” — Robert, Milwaukee

“We can't begin to thank you enough, your board members and all the volunteers with Stars and Stripes, for one of the best days of our lives! I know the DAY was for them--including my father-- but I must tell you, it was a joy to be with him and the others and share their emotional journey on the trip of a lifetime. Your hard work and dedication is remarkable, every detail being attended to through an exhausting day. My father is dealing with dementia, but he was very excited about this trip and “with it” for the entire day, a true blessing. Now I'm his hero for signing him up to go on the Stars and Stripes Honor Flight!” — Sharon, Oconomowoc