Pearl Harbor Honor Flight Returns Home
We departed Hawaii Friday evening, December 9th, landed Saturday morning in Dallas for a short layover and then travelled on to Pensacola arriving at 10AM. First thing we received on touch down was a fire truck “water arch” in honor of our veterans as we taxied toward the terminal. As soon as they stepped off the plane, our survivors were greeted by airport officials and Naval Air Museum volunteers. Walking down the corridor, travelers spontaneo
usly applauded. When they reached the non-restricted area, our survivors were greeted by a large group of people who came together to welcome and salute Pensacola’s own “Greatest Generation”. The group included a JROTC sabre salute, many Patriot Riders with their American flags and a Marine division from NAS, Pensacola. Family and friends waved “Welcome Home” signs and American flags. As we headed for the USO lounge, we heard the music of the Tate High School Jazz band. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house, WOW, what a welcome!
Pearl Harbor Honor Flight Will Always Remember
The contagious atmosphere of patriotism swept from person to person sharing hugs and greeting our survivors. Families, friends and local media asked the question, “How was the trip?” The answer resounded from one and all, “GREAT!” Each survivor returned to the location where he had been on the morning of December 7, 1941, honoring and remembering comrades who had fallen during that day and throughout the war.
George Mills, the originator of the idea to return to Pearl Harbor to say “One Last Goodbye” to his fallen comrades, said, “I had a dream that Holly and her dedicated team helped to make a reality. My dream came true.”
Two survivors’ daughters traveled with them sharing this adventure. All had a sense of closure. We had a safe journey as we honored these heroes.
Pearl Harbor Honor Flight Sponsors
We have so many people to thank for their efforts to make this trip a success. A giant THANK YOU goes out to American Airlines – Air Compassion for Veterans for tickets, to POP’S Leather in Turkey for Navy flight jackets, to Naval Air Museum, Pensacola and to Pensacola International Airport, USO Dallas, Hawaii and Pensacola for their attention to details in accommodating the travel needs of our survivors; to the local businesses who provided cash and in-kind donations; to the local media for their assistance in raising awareness of this project: Mediacom, WSRE, WKRG, 1670AM, 1320AM, Fox 10 News, Channel 5 Mobile, Pensacola News Journal, Gulf Breeze News, Independent News; Santa Rosa Co. Schools system, Escambia Co. schools JROTC and many others.
Many thanks to Holly Shelton, founder for this initiative and Bill Phillips, co-organizer for their tireless efforts to make this a success; Kathy Phillips and Dick Weaver, our nurse and flight surgeon; and Dan Frisbie, Rob Carleen, Hunter and Betsy Echols, people handlers. We appreciate the efforts of Liz Watkins Productions video team (Liz, Robert Breland, Elisa Goad and David Heroux) and Billie and Robert Nicholson, RustyBuggy.com still photographers, as their work will continue to compile the history of this event.
Pearl Harbor Honor flight thanks you for your support