Honor flight allows veterans to embrace the past and look to the future



ODESSA, Texas (KOSA) – What’s in a story? Can you breathe life into it? Can you keep it alive long after you leave?

From October 1-3, over 100 West Texans traveled to Washington, DC, as part of Permian Basin Honor Flight 2021 to see stories… hundreds of thousands of them.

“These might be names for someone else, but when you say the name of someone you were with… I’m sorry… it’s a person,” said Vietnam veteran Jimmy Barton. . “They may not be there, but they are always remembered.”

We remember them long after they left. There were no WWII veterans on the flight for the first time, but their memorial ensures that the sacrifice is not forgotten.

“I hope there is a cure now,” said Rep. August Pfluger (R, TX-11). Hope they understand how much we care about them.

It was also the first time that the dozens of Vietnam veterans who made the trip experienced this treatment.

“It’s really great. It warms your heart,” Vietnam veteran Dee Phillips said.

Many of their friends have never known this heat. A wreath laying ceremony at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial served as a reflection in the next plane.

“To find out what they had to give up. And I had nothing to give up. I just had to get home safe, ”Barton said. “I have never had anything so good to happen to me.”

Their individual stories are set in stone in Washington and Arlington, where they rest with their siblings, often separated by yards and hundreds of years. It is a way for the dead to close the living.

“We can continue our story,” said clinical social worker Jan Lentz, who works with veterans. “We are not frozen in time in Vietnam, but we can continue. “

Senator and World War II veteran Bob Dole once said, “It is faith that gives you the strength to endure – faith, which does not allow you to give up; faith manifested in the fierce determination to take the next step, the one everyone says is impossible.

“It has helped me get out of a lot of things that have been suppressed for 50 years,” Vietnam veteran Sandy Stilwell said. “It has helped me psychologically more than any program I have taken. “

Now their life can go on, turning the pages of the past to work on a story that is not over.

“Of my 77 years, this is probably the greatest honor I have ever had on my shoulders,” Barton said. “Worth every penny.”

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