Since its inception in 2009, Central Missouri Honor Flight has made 29 Honor Flights to Washington, DC, carrying more than 1,800 veterans to the nation’s capital to reflect at their memorials. The majority of those veterans have been WWII veterans. The next largest group has been veterans of the Korean War. And, earlier this year, we began adding veterans of the Vietnam War to our flights as space allowed.
Since the early months of our program, we have been receiving applications for the Honor Flight from central Missouri’s Vietnam veterans. While they completely understand that their applications have been held on a waiting list until CMHF has taken the veterans of the earlier conflicts, many Vietnam War veterans have been waiting many years for their Honor Flight experience. It is now time to honor them in the same manner, with the same recognition and the same celebration that has been afforded the WWII and Korean War veterans.
Most people remember the tumultuous period of the 1960s and 1970s in our nation when it was embroiled in the conflict in Vietnam, fighting to stem the flow of Communism in a vulnerable part of world. The Vietnam War was a highly controversial issue in this nation, and the citizenry was emotionally and politically divided over the issue of America’s involvement in the war. As a result, when the men and women who served in Vietnam returned home, they were ostracized, disrespected and vilified by many Americans who – wrongly – blamed them for the seemingly endless and expensive engagement in Southeast Asia. It was a very dark time in our nation’s history when the sons and daughters of WWII veterans who had secured our liberties were criticized for answering their nation’s call to preserve those same freedoms.
Many Vietnam veterans have struggled to recover from their war experiences and the manner in which they were received in this nation when they returned home. In the minds of many Vietnam veterans, they are still being asked to answer for what our nation’s political leadership asked of them so many decades ago.
CMHF believes it is time to bring light to that dark chapter of our nation’s past. It is time to not only recognize, but honor and commend the men and women who have lived for nearly 40 years with the sadness and bitterness they felt upon their return from the Vietnam War. It is time to replace disgrace with honor and disrespect with celebration.
Veterans who have participated in the Honor Flight have repeatedly told us that the experience allows them to release their negative feelings about their military service, and replace those emotions with pride, joy and satisfaction. One told us, “You have replaced all of my bad memories with good memories of THIS day.” We MUST provide the same opportunity to the veterans of the Vietnam War.
CMHF’s Yellow Ribbon Mission will allow Vietnam War veterans the opportunity to travel together, support one another, collectively remember and emotionally cleanse their personal histories of this difficult time in their lives. None of us can adequately understand what these veterans experienced. But they can understand one another, and it is critical that they be allowed to stand together throughout this celebration of their service.
Many have been waiting since 2009 for their chance to visit their memorial and, in many cases, to see the names on the Vietnam Memorial Wall of those who were left behind in that bloody and costly engagement. We have owed these veterans this tribute for nearly 40 years; it is time to pay that debt.
Please vote/donate for “The American G.I.” Tigers on the Prowl. The tiger is prowling around Columbia, raising money for Central Missouri Honor Flight. The twelve tigers will auctioned off on Friday, October 3rd at The Crossing. To learn more about Tigers on the Prowl visit their website at www.tigersontheprowl.org
Those of us, who have made Central Missouri Honor Flight more than “a once in a lifetime activity”, have become a very close “family”. Many of the guardians and staff involved with this flight have been with us for years and some have been with us from the very beginning over five years ago. For those of us who have supported each other through the ups and downs, the funerals we have attended, the frustrations of family dynamics of the veterans, the burden of responsibility we all share, the uncertainty of fund-raising and thousands of hours each flight requires in preparation and implementation, the friendships and trust we have developed have brought us all very close.
On Sunday, March 23, we lost a very special member of our family. Vietnam era Army veteran, Mike Miller of Macon, passed away after a valiant four month battle against liver cancer. Mike had served as a guardian on eight of our flights and very much wanted to survive long enough to see this flight off. In addition to his service to CMHF as a guardian, Mike was active in the Macon area recruiting veterans to go on our flights, raising funds for CMHF, serving as a bugler at countless military and veteran events and riding his Harley with the Patriot Guard Riders. In addition to veterans support, Mike was also active in his community of Macon/Bevier in other ways. He helped start the Macon County Emergency Medical First Responders and the Bevier Fire Protection District where he served as a volunteer firefighter and captain for over 20 years.
Mike was highly regarded by all of us in CMHF. He was the epitome of what a CMHF guardian should be. To Mike, it was never about him and all about the veterans. In fact, I had told Mike that, should he survive until this flight, we would take him as veteran consistent with our policies for terminally ill veterans. He immediately refused saying that would take up a seat that a WWII or Korea veteran could use – that’s the way he was. He was focused, committed, compassionate, caring and, most of all, always anticipating what was ahead. In fact, as I have shared with many, any time a challenge presented itself along our travels, it seemed Mike was already there addressing the issue. If I was forced to identify our top 5 guardians, Mike would be on that list. Many of our members made numerous trips to Bevier to visit with Mike as his health declined and countless members of our organization were also present at Mike’s visitation and services in March. We couldn’t have been prouder of the people that give so much to our mission. In fact, they all wore their honor flight shirts in tribute to him. It was “family” at its best.
We are extremely honored that Mark Miller, Mike’s brother and a Marine, will be taking Mike’s guardian slot on this flight in honor to his brother. Additionally, guardians and staff who knew Mike will be wearing special recognition markings on this flight in memory of and in tribute to Mike. First time guardians are welcome to wear those as well as Mike would have honored you for your participation as he did all guardians.
Mike absolutely loved the mission of Central Missouri Honor Flight. Aside from his family, Central Missouri Honor Flight had become the most important thing in his life. In fact, Mike was buried in his Central Missouri Honor Flight Guardian T-Shirt and Lanyard. We trust that Mike is now standing at the Pearly Gates welcoming and guiding arriving WWII and Korea veterans.In tribute to and honor of Mike Miller’s patriotism, dedication to CMHF and incredible passion for our veterans and the recognition they so truly deserve, we hereby dedicate our May 13, 2014 honor flight as the:
Mike Miller Memorial Central Missouri Honor Flight #27.
Yes, we have two flights already booked for 2014!!! Flight #27 is on Tuesday, May 13 and Flight #28 is scheduled for Monday, June 9th. If you know of a WWII veteran or a Korean War veteran that have not gone on a Honor Flight, please complete an application and submit to us as soon as possible. Applications can be found on our home page.
Central Missouri Honor Flight is excited to announce that we have booked our 27th flight. Flight day is Tuesday, May 13th. If you know a WWII veteran that has not flown on his or her Honor Flight, please get them signed up!!! Click on the Veteran Application for them to complete and submit.
Benefiting Central Missouri Honor Flight, 2013 Honor Ball will be held on Sunday, December 8th. A private reception from 5:30 pm – 6:30 pm, Dinner at 6:30 pm followed by entertainment and dancing. Location: Holiday Inn Executive Center, 2200 I-70 Drive SW, Columbia, MO
Please join us for a lovely evening in a relaxed military ball atmosphere to help us raise money to send our honored veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit their memorials.
The evening includes all the trappings of a military ball, a fabulous meal, cash bar and special toasts and dancing to music from the Memories Orchestra.
Tickets are $100 per person or purchase a table for $900. Each table includes four seats for Honor Flight veterans and their guest, leaving six seats at your discretion. Or purchase a VIP ticket for $125 which includes a private reception with Honor Flight veterans at 5:30 pm (purchase of a table for $900 includes the private reception as well).
To reserve your tickets call 573-256-1930 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Central Missouri Honor Flight will be taking it’s 25th flight on Tuesday, October 15th. Contrary to media reports our veterans will see their memorials. Wish us a wonderful day with wonderful weather! We also hope to see you at the Courtyard by Marriott upon our return at 10:30 pm, 10-15-2013!
Central Missouri Honor Flight has booked the last two flights for 2013! Flight #25 will be on Tuesday, October 15th and Flight #26 will be on November 5, 2013. If you are a WWII veteran or you know a WWII Veteran who has NOT gone on his/her Honor Flight – please complete the application and send in to us as soon as possible. Thank You!
Several have inquired as to when we will be returning home from our 24th flight to Washington D.C. We will be arriving back to the Courtyard by Marriott around 10:45 p.m.
Hope to see you there!!!!!
Announcing Crowdcases for Central Missouri Honor Flight Iphone users…check out the link and get your LIMITED EDITION CASE now!! A portion of the sale goes directly to Central MO Honor Flight to continue to send veterans to Washington DC to see their memorial!
Here is the official Honor Flight iPhone Case Collection