Going this evening to Port Columbus to welcome over a hundred veterans home from their Honor Flight, a day-long pilgrimage to the monuments and memorials of our nation’s capital. Tonight won’t require much of my time or energy, but even if it did, it still is worth anything I can invest in it.
Many of these men and women came home to an ungrateful country decades ago, and their life journeys have been more painful as a result. No one to hear their stories or to offer unconditional love. In fact, just the reverse; many were subjected to censure and condemnation for fighting wars that had become unpopular. Korea was “The Forgotten War,” and Vietnam was “The Mistake.”
I’ve been to these events before. Thankfully, hundreds of local residents turn out to wave Old Glory and to parade signs of support and encouragement. When the wrinkled faces and weary eyes of these warriors recognize the tribute being paid, they often weep. Great tears of relief, gratitude, and perhaps sorrow to know this could have happened a long time ago, when life was young and dreams were fresh.
But it isn’t too late for these heroes, and I’m looking forward to raising my voice in appreciation for those who gave so much for all of us.