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Letter: Dad’s Honor Flight was an incredible experience

Dad’s Honor Flight was an incredible experience

On June 11, I had the privilege of accompanying my father, Robert Winterberger, on an Honor Flight with 44 other veterans of World War II. If you are not familiar with Honor Flights, you should be. Their mission is to take veterans to their memorials in Washington, D.C., at no cost to the veteran.

I signed my father up and he was put on a waiting list. A year later, I was contacted by Rhonda Cooper, coordinator for Leatherstocking Honor Flight, who said my father had been chosen for the flight on June 11. I was overcome by emotion and grateful that he was still here and able to make the trip.

From start to finish, everything was first class and well organized. Every stop had bands playing, well-wishers cheering and high military honors. We toured the World War II Memorial, as well as many others, guided by knowledgeable and trained volunteers in a comfortable bus. Arlington Cemetery was also on the agenda, making real the ultimate sacrifice made for our freedom.

The biggest reception awaited the veterans when they returned to Buffalo. In spite of the late hour, there were more bands, more flags, more signs, more well-wishers. Again, I was overwhelmed by emotion.

If you know a veteran, thank him or her by signing him up for one of these fantastic flights. May God bless the Leatherstocking Honor Flight volunteers! And God bless the United States of America.

Heidi Payne

Forestville