We've heard about it.  Had it explained to us.  But until you are a part of it, you have no idea the impact on the lives of those involved including your own.  Saturday's Talons Out Honor Flight was a life-changing experience that will affect me till the day I die.From the start at the airport in Kalamazoo, we could see the amount of planning and attention detail taken to serve our precious cargo.  Not only was the airport decorated, there were a lot of people there very early to send off the WW2 and Korean War veterans.  All of this brought early tears that stayed with us the entire day.

Karla Mckelly

 

Once on the plane, decorated patriotically, the flight crew (also decorated) was in on the act.  From the volunteers, guardians and medical staff we could see right away that this was going to be an important day in all ours lives.  What we didn't expect upon landing at Reagan National were hundreds of strangers lined up to greet the veterans.  It was one of the most emotional moments of the day and back came the tears.

Karal Mckelly

 

From the moment we got on the 5 buses to our return to the airport we were escorted by police in a motorcade only reserved for the President.  This allowed us to see the Air Force Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery and the changing of the guard at the tomb of the unknown soldier, the Iwo Jima Memorial, the Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Wall, the Korean War Memorial, of course, the WW2 Memorial and finally the FDR Memorial.

Karal Mckelly

 

Karla McKelly

The fight back was a little more boisterous at the start and then fatigue set in at the end.  But there was going to be one more bus ride after landing in Kalamazoo.  It would have an bigger escort and and an even bigger surprise at Wings Event Center.

Karla McKelly

The 78 veterans ventured inside to find thousands of people lining the concourse welcoming them back as heroes.  After all, they are a part of the greatest generation, deserve the honor everyday and we'll never forget why.  One last time the tears began to flow.  Well, not the last time.  They're flowing while I'm writing this.

Karla McKelly

Gentlemen, thank you for your service and thank you Talons Out Honor Flight for such a privilege.  Tell everyone you know to donate whatever they can to keep the flights going.  Click HERE for all the information.