2009 Texas Panhandle Honor Flight: Part 1, Overview

Amarillo, TX  --  The 2009 Texas Panhandle Honor Flight took off to Washington, DC from Amarillo with a lofty goal, taking close to 80 World War II Veterans on a three day tour to make sure they experienced the memorial erected in their honor.

97 year old Eddie Melin spent World War II in France as a Medical Administrative Officer in the Army.

He worked to save the lives of US Service Members hurt in battle.

Melin says, "I forgot about it for a long time, many many years. I put it away and didn't think about it, but now it's all fresh in my mind."

Spending time at the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC during the 2009 Texas Panhandle Honor Flight brought those and other memories back to the forefront for Melin and the close to 80 other area World War II Veterans on the trip.

Over the course of three days, Panhandle veterans laid two memorial wreaths at the World War II Memorial, and also laid a wreath a the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Iwo Jima Monument, and the Korean War Memorial.

Navy Veteran Frank Robinson, who served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, says, "I think the Korean is the most reality. Because while I was over in Korea there for a little while we saw the ponchos that turn into a pup tent. A lot of people don't realize, don't know about that, but it was wet country, a lot of rain."

The all expenses paid trip for these warriors also included an emotional stop at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center to visit with wounded veterans from the current wars, and a wreath and flag laying ceremony at the Vietnam Wall Memorial.

Melin says, "This was really great for me. I really became emotional thinking about this. The whole three days has just been extraordinary and wonderful."

Three extraordinary and wonderful days for Melin that not only brought back to mind emotional sacrifices from a war fought more than 60 years ago, but also added new memories about what those sacrifices mean for our freedom today.

The trip included around 167 people total,  and American Airlines chartered everyone on their Boeing 737 Flagship Liberty.