I cite the McCrae poem to establish the background of why the work of the American Legion is so important. All Americans should honor veterans who have put their lives on the line for the good of the country.
The Honor Flight Network is among the groups we at the American Legion support with our poppy events and our time. It was established in 2007, combining the efforts of two patriotic supporters of veterans, Jeff Miller and Ed Morse, to transport veterans to Washington, D.C. to see the memorials to the wars they had fought in. By the end of 2017, the network had escorted more than 200,000 veterans to their memorials, free of cost to the veterans.
The American Legion has been assisting in Honor Flights. From March to October 2019, 91 of our members have attended 83 flights. We have met, saluted, and welcomed 3,474 veterans and accompanied them to see the memorials in Washington, D.C.
I’m proud to be associated with an organization, the American Legion, that is a leader on the Honor Flight program. Unfortunately for me, I’m deemed too old to accompany veterans on their trips to view the memorials. It’s a fair judgment. Helping the veterans on and off buses, moving wheel chairs, and assisting the veterans to walk through the memorials is, these days, beyond my physical capability. But I still beam with pride to be associated with the American Legion, a key organization in carrying out this honorable work.
I recently came across a quote that is apropos: “When small men begin to cast big shadows, it means that the sun is about to set.” That’s from Lin Yutang, writer and translator who died in 1976. The men and women working in the Honor Flight Network are, instead, anonymous big men and women, who cast long shadows in the middle of the day. Despite record government malfeasance at the national level—the thought that I began this series with—our sun is not about to set.