Friday is Veterans Day, a day to honor those that have served our country in all capacities. Here’s what it means to have served our country for some of the veterans that were on the Honor Flight with Honor Flight Central Coast California in October.
“I've never been here. I've always wanted to see a lot of these beautiful things,” said Roger Boardman, an Air Force veteran, about the military memorials scattered across our nation’s capital.
“I think that veterans have built our country over the years,” said Mike Boardman, Roger’s son and a local firefighter. “What he's instilled in me comes from being in the armed services. It makes me very proud to be here with him.”
Marine veteran, Jim McCall III, was prideful getting to travel to D.C. with two dozen other veterans, but it’s what he does at home that illustrates just how proud he is to have worn a marine uniform.
“I have a miniature statue outside my door at the retirement home of this,” said McCall III, standing in front of the iconic Marine Corps War Memorial of soldiers hoisting an American Flag at Iwo Jima. “Everybody has something outside their door. Well, that's mine, and every morning I salute it.”
Brothers Herb and Arnie Gerfen, both Navy veterans, served in the early ‘50s; Herb during the Korean War and Arnie the last six months of it.
“I came up to Cal Poly in 1950 and was there about two weeks trying out for football. Then I got my orders to report to San Diego, and that was it,” said Herb. “Freedom is not free. When people hear jets flying, a lot of people complain about it. We say that's the sound of freedom.”
Brian Moore was the only World War II veteran on the Honor Flight. He enjoyed his first trip to our nation’s capital in-person. He had been there before, virtually.
“I have visited D.C. before on my Oculus, and the real DC is a lot bigger. It’s much more impressive,” said Moore. “I've been pushing my daughter around for a long time. Now, she's pushing me around.”
Monica Wahl, his daughter and guardian on the Honor Flight, took that in stride and says being the daughter of a veteran brings her joy.
“Yes, it does bring me pride,” said Wahl. “It's really fun. We remember a lot of his stories that he's told us through the years.”
While I was talking to Brian, a man in an Army uniform stopped to shake his hand and said, “I just wanted to thank you for your service.”
And we all share that same sentiment: Thank you to every veteran for your service.
Honor Flight Central Coast California typically takes two Honor Flights per year, one in the spring and one in the fall. If you or a veteran you know would like to apply, click here.