Mary, son Mike, and Tom Olsen (Stephen Brown Photography)
In 1941, over eighty percent of Americans owned a radio and were listening to the sounds of Glen Miller, the Andrew Sisters, Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra. A gallon of gasoline cost twelve cents, and for ten cents you could own Rita Hayworth on the cover of Life Magazine.
On December 7th of that same year, President Franklin D. Roosevelt called Americans to war after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, killing more than 2400 servicemen. America answered that call.
In 2004, the World War II Memorial was completed in Washington D.C., to acknowledge that time in our history and pay tribute to the almost 500,000 Americans who died serving their country. The Honor Flight Network began in the spring of 2005, and Rocky Mountain Honor Flight joined the network in 2007. Memorials visited on these flights: World War II, Navy, Lincoln, Korean War, Vietnam, Washington Navy Yard, Arlington National Cemetery, Air Force, Marine Corps., and the Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial. The following is a description of this organization from their brochure:
Rocky Mountain Honor Flight was created to transport our American veterans to Washington DC for two days of remembrance, honor and celebration of their service and sacrifice. Top priority is given to our most senior veterans, our World War II heroes, as well as those veterans from all conflicts who may be terminally ill. This journey is at no cost to the veterans. Rocky Mountain Honor Flight is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization.
Mary Denise Haddon is president of Rocky Mountain Honor Flight. She embarked on her first trip in July 2008 as a Guardian. After experiencing first hand the care and gratitude given to those veterans, she could not wait to become involved. According to Mary, several of that original group have been involved since that first trip. Not one to accept credit as president, she repeatedly expressed that all of the volunteers including herself create this dynamic team.
Mary’s thoughts, “The secret to a well run organization is a group of people that work together seamlessly with the same passion and have the greatest respect for the people we are working for and each other.” “We do what we do to show our veterans that we appreciate what they did for us so many years ago.” “These veterans are the “greatest generation” and it’s time for those of us who are the “lesser generation” to show our gratitude.”
In December, I attended the reunion luncheon for the veterans who flew to Washington D.C. in 2014. I witnessed an enormous amount of affection from the Honor Flight volunteers for these special veterans and their guests. The laughter, hugs and stories said it all. Obviously, this dedicated group of individuals know how, “to let these heroes know their service is greatly appreciated and that they will never be forgotten,” which is a large part of Honor Flight’s goal.
Thank you, Mary, and your league of angels for providing incredible journeys for our veterans to be recognized. A big thumbs up to all of you who have supported this organization with donations, big and small.
Interested in being involved? Donate! All funding comes from private donations with no government funding. All donations are tax-deductible. Also, volunteers may help transport veterans to DIA or simply come to the airport to help welcome the veterans home. I have been told being part of the airport celebration is a heartfelt, patriotic experience. The welcoming supporters, music, and posters express love and gratitude to these veteran heroes. Other options and more information can be found on their website.
The following are photos taken by my friend, Vince Beeson. He made the trip three years ago with his son Tom. It was an experience he thoroughly enjoyed. Thank you, Vince, for serving your country in WWII and the Korean War!
Please take a look at the following song/video “Before You Go.” After linking on website, you will find it located on left hand margin towards bottom of page, WWII/Korean War. Permission granted to include link.