After our supper at Emma Krumbee's, it was time to catch the bus out to the Central Wisconsin Airport to await the arrival of our "warriors."
We arrived about 8:30 p.m., and the plane was supposed to arrive about 9:30 p.m.
We were met at the door by members of the American Legion, Post No. 153, and escorted down to a special place just for the wives of our husbands to sit and wait for their arrival.
It wasn't long before the airport began filling up, and soon it was full to the rafters, with probably around 800 people. There were quite a few from the Pittsville area and surrounding towns. There were grade school kids, high school kids, friends, neighbors and relatives.
It was quite a festive affair. The local high school band was playing songs; people were carrying banners, saying "thank you veterans" and many were waving American flags. People were cheering and it was very heartwarming.
The plane was late and in the meantime another plane arrived with several passengers. The crowd thought it was the veterans arriving and as soon as they walked in everyone started cheering and the band struck up a song. I am sure the arrivals were quite puzzled and wondered if all of the planes arriving received such a welcome. Everyone had a good laugh over that.
But ... finally we saw the plane that we had been waiting for come taxiing in. The wives were told as soon as their husbands came in to walk up and meet them. As Bob came down the walkway, I ran up and met him and planted a big kiss on his cheek.
We were instructed to continue walking to the back of the airport. As we walked, there were Legion members from several posts saluting as we passed and service members in their uniforms standing at attention and all of the visitors lined up to shake each veteran's hand as they passed.
There were wee small first-graders and other classes standing at attention and as Bob and the other veterans passed they shook the veterans' hands and saluted and said "thank you." Let me tell you, it was really a tearjerker.
Bob said it was one of the most momentous days of his life and such an honor.
He said the day spent in D.C. was very well orchestrated and everything went quite smoothly. He took pictures with the "throw away" camera that was in their goody bags.
They visited the World War II memorial where a group picture was taken, the Korean memorial and the Vietnam memorial where mementoes (letters and etc.) were left at the base of the memorial. These were gathered each evening and taken and stored at the Smithsonian forever.
On to the Iwo Jima memorial and another group picture was taken. Next was the Air Force memorial and the Navy memorial. They visited Arlington and saw the "changing of the guard" which was a highlight of the day and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
They also had a little extra time and took a bus tour through D.C. Box lunches were provided for them while in town.
Almost forgot our neighbor's daughter (out in Pittsville) is in the Coast Guard and stationed in D.C. She surprised them and met them at one of the memorials and they had a nice visit.
If any of you veterans out there haven't gone on this "Never Forgotten Honor Flight," please sign up and go. You won't regret it.