Honoring Heroes ~ Oklahoma Honor Flights

We can’t all be Heroes.  Some of us have to stand on the curb and clap as they go by.”  Will Rogers ~ My hubby and I  had the honor, along with hundreds of others, to be in the “Welcome Home” crowd for a group Oklahoma WW II Veterans on Thursday evening.  All were gathered in the terminal at the Tulsa Airport.

Oklahoma Honor Flights is a non-profit group whose mission is “Honoring Oklahoma Veterans”.  Their actual mission statement is: “Transport Oklahoma Veterans to Washington D.C. to visit those memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifices.”

The Veterans and volunteers had met that morning at 4:30, boarded their chartered plane to Washington D.C., and now here we were waiting at 9:30 that evening for their return.  How exhausted they had to be.  But this was a trip of a lifetime.  There would be no complaining ~We met some dedicated and loving people at the airport that evening.  The daughter of Richard Biedermann, Navy, Lt., explained that her father had helped organize the committee for the Tulsa flights to begin.  He was 88 years old and was able to raise over $16,000 in just four weeks.  Sadly, He was never able to make the flight, so in memory of him, his brother Len Biedermann, was on this trip.

There were dozens of Patriot Guards and Oklahoma Honor Flight’s Ground Crew. Even a band from a local Tulsa homeschool group, entertained with patriotic tunes.  Mary stood next to us.  Her sweet mother was in a wheelchair and was there to welcome her husband of 63 years home from this flight.  She clutched her flag in her hands and waited.

The feeling in the airport was festive.  Young and old gathered together, flags waving, music playing, all to welcome home our heroes. The lines on each side of the wall grew longer by the minute,  extending from the gate to the airport’s front entrance.  When the announcement was made that the plane had landed, the crowd exploded into cheers.  And then finally, after a lengthy wait, the parade began.  One by one.  Each escorted by a volunteer.  I was so excited to take pictures!  But then I saw the first Veteran’s face, so surprised with the homecoming, tears streaming down his face….my hand was reaching out to touch his.  He needed to know how much I appreciated his service to our country. As he squeezed my hand, there was so much I wanted to tell him.   And then the next, and the next Veteran…..then my brain said “PICTURES!”  So I did take many photos,  I didn’t even realize that tears were streaming down my face too, until my blurry camera lens showed evidence. The emotion was overwhelming.  So these pics are for you, friends.  And they are for me.  Please know that they are from my heart.  But the imperfections are present because, well ~I had heroes to greet.  Over One Hundred ~

A special thankyou to ALL Veterans for your service and sacrifice.  And to www.OklahomaHonorFlights.org .  My words cannot begin to express the gratitude in my heart ♥

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21 Responses to Honoring Heroes ~ Oklahoma Honor Flights

  1. rljaffe says:

    Awesome post, Paula! We all need to remember to honor our veterans! Amen!

  2. What a moving experience… you’re a wonderful writer Paula.. ever think of taking it up for a book ?
    Loved it….

    Carri

  3. renae says:

    I love this story, the fact that local Americans have used their time and energy to say Thank You to our Veterans is heart warming. This is how it should be. I wish everyone living in the USA could see this story and pictures. Perhaps they could better understand the freedom they celebrate here in America each day!

  4. Thanks, Nae….it was so great being there ~

  5. These pictures make me proud of you all who honored these sweet Veterans. Thanks for sharing this occasion with us. I felt like I was standing right there with you. I’m sure I would have used up a whole box of tissues.

  6. Dottie says:

    Thanks for sharing another moving and heartwarming story and pictures!! We can’t honor these veterans enough along with the current men and women that keep our Country free and safe!! I agree with one of your followers, you REALLY should consider writing a book!! You have such a flair with words and getting the emotion out there for all of us to share!! Have a great Friday and a great weekend!! Always look forward to Monday to see where your adventures take you!! Thanks again for an “AWESOME” story!! 🙂 😀

    • You ae so right, Dottie. We cannot thank our service men and women enough. Thanks for your sweet words. I guess life is my book and we are just living it a day at a time! Thanks for staying tuned! lol! Monday….well, I will talk about that tomorrow. We are actually going to take off a few days for some adventures. Just hubby and me and camera ….and then meeting a few good folks. We will see where it takes us! ♥

  7. What an amazing experience! I enjoyed looking at your pictures. Great memories

    Have a good weekend,
    Shasta

  8. Dottie says:

    Looking forward to hearing about your travels and adventures!! Sounds like fun and glad your camera will be in action!! Have fun and be safe! 🙂

  9. Lynn Schmuhl says:

    Thanks so much for posting this story and pictures. My dad is Dick Biedermann and every time we fly I think of how much he would have wanted to make a flight. I think the Welcome Home at the airport is about the best part of the trip! Glad you got to come and hope you come see us again later this month – we have another Tulsa to DC flight going out on September 25th – plane comes in at 10pm. See you there!!

    • Thanks for letting me know. It must have been you we bought bracelets from that night when you shared your dad’s story. He would be so proud. It was a true honor to be there and we would encourage everyone to join in the “Welcome Home”. ♥

  10. Nancy MacLachlan says:

    Actually, it was probably me, the other sister there that night, that sold you the bracelet. I was there to help my sister Lynn who did an incredible job planning and pulling off the pre- and post-flight events for our heroes. She stayed in the thick of the activity, at the gate meeting the vets – I just flitted around the perimeter. And I too was touched by your photos of the airport reception. A young Navy enlisted woman stood beside me as they walked and rolled past my spot in the crowd and asked what was going on. When I told her, she stood through the entire “parade” of vets, her suitcase at her side, with tears in HER eyes. They truly were her heroes. Very touching.

  11. Pingback: I’m Outta Here ~ | stuff i tell my sister

  12. russtowne says:

    BEAUTIFUL! Touching. Thank you for sharing the moment with us.
    Russ

    • stuffitellmysister says:

      Another group came in the week we were leaving and we missed it. We hope to be able to go again though. It is unbelievable & so inspiring ♥

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