This year during our Air National Guard annual training in St. Petersburg we were invited to attend a homecoming for veterans on their way home from Washington DC. Hosted by a non profit called Honor Flight of West Central Florida, their mission is honoring veterans with all-expense-paid "Honor Tours" to their memorials in D.C. This day an honor tour was set to arrive for Vietnam and World War Two veterans.
We were invited to stand and cheer as the war veterans left the plane. With the entire airport filled with Veterans, Airman, Coasties, Soldiers, Seamen, civilians and volunteers, the emotions and excitement swept the room as veterans began to arrive. So many cheers, handshakes, high fives, and hugs to go around. One man exclaimed that for his homecoming from Vietnam fifty years ago there was not a soul in the airport. In the end we were in line welcoming, hugging veterans for over an hour as they made their way past us down the terminal...welcome home veterans.