Thank you for another great edition of the KP News in July. I’ve had the honor to pilot a couple of Honor Flights. We treat these as an opportunity to show our respect for the service of these veterans by making the trip as easy and comfortable as possible. (“KP Vietnam Vet Takes Honor Flight to D.C.,” KP News, July 2019.)
What has blown me away the most though are the passengers who are not associated with the flight.
We recently pulled into gate 18 on time at Reagan National Airport in D.C. Due to the unusually high demand for assistance and the Honor Flight’s desire to keep their “crew” together, there’s a very long lag from when deplaning starts until the last passenger disembarks. The boarding area for gate 18 is very small and these flights are historically very full, so there is a mass of anxious passengers ready to board.
As the minutes tick by waiting for the inbound passengers to deplane, tension grows in the boarding area.
It’s a very emotional experience to see the reaction of the outbound passengers when the first veteran enters the gate area through the boarding door. The impatient or worried expressions and frequent checking of the watches fades into a roar of applause, salutes, and cries of “Thank you for your service.”
Mark Michel, Lakebay