Honor Flight Southern Arizona—An Unforgettable Experience for Veterans

Artie and son Kevin as his guardian with a statue of FDR at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Artie Wachter

What an experience—it was unbelievable. It is something every veteran on the trip will cherish and never forget. To qualify, you must have been in the service during WWII, the Korean War, or the Vietnam War.

On April 23, we boarded a chartered flight out of Tucson to Washington, D.C. From then on it was non-stop; we visited the Washington Monument and memorials of FDR, World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Lincoln, Military Women, and Iwo Jima; saw the changing of the guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; toured Fort McHenry; and came home the evening of April 25.

Needless to say we were exhausted after three days, but humble and joyful with tears in our eyes having this opportunity Uncle Sam provided for us through sponsors and volunteers.

During the changing of the guard at Arlington Cemetery, you could not hear a pin drop. It was something to behold.

At Fort McHenry, we participated in the raising of the American flag, which was 30 feet by 42 feet. The flag was unfolded with more than 100 of us holding it like at the Super Bowl, and then it was hoisted up the flagpole. You can imagine how tall the pole was (sorry I didn’t get the height). Fort McHenry is the place where Francis Scott Key wrote The Star Spangled Banner. There’s also a stone for Audi Murphy, the most decorated hero.

The experience is something you cannot put in writing. You feel it in your heart, it creates tears in your eyes, and I thank God for having the privilege of living in America. I wish I could fully explain that feeling, but it is something every American should see. I want to thank all those who made this all possible.

For information on how you can get involved or apply, go to Honor Flight Southern Arizona’s website at www.honorflightsaz.org.

God bless you all and God Bless America.