2009 Texas Panhandle Honor Flight: Part 3, Appreciation for our World War II Veterans

Amarillo, TX --  Veterans Day is recognized across the United States as a day to honor those who've served for our country,  and show them our appreciation for their sacrifices.

During the 2009 Texas Panhandle Honor Flight, close to 80 Wworld War II Veterans felt that appreciation everywhere they went on their three day trip in Washington, DC. 

As Texas Panhandle World War II Veterans got off the plane at Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington, DC,  Frank Robinson,  who served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam, couldn't believe what was happening.

Robinson says, "We had such a reception that you could not even believe. 500, 600 people were there waiting on us."

As patriotic music blared, the thunderous applause, along with handshakes and hugs greeted each stunned, teary eyed veteran.
USO Volunteer George Kouyeas says, "A lot of them don't think they deserve this, a lot of them are overwhelmed."
The crowd included volunteers,  passengers waiting in the terminal,  and Michael Downing,  who lost his legs fighting in Afghanistan.
He says, "If it wasn't for them ... doing what they did then, we wouldn't be here now."

 That incredible recognition that we truly owe our freedom today to their sacrifices in World War II didn't end at the airport.

Every stop made on the trip included the spontaneous show of honest gratitude.
Veteran Brownlee McMahon says, "What thrilled me, these 7 and 8 year old kids, wanting to shake my hand. It was really something."
It wasn't just people showing their appreciate, either.
As a company, American Airlines chartered the round trip flight on their 737 Flagship Liberty at no cost.
Pilot Mike Rubin, from Amarillo, says, "All the volunteers on this trip, and every person working this trip is a volunteer at American Airlines, all have some World War IIi connection. I'm very proud of them."
As the trip progressed, Robinson and the other area warriors, from an entire generation that often feels their sacrifices are forgotten,  gained a new sense of hope.
"We think people are hard hearted today, but they're not," Robinson expressed as the trip ended. 
A heart warming closure for the area World War II Veterans that they didn't serve and sacrifice in vain.