Sixty-five years after the end of World War II, a national memorial was finally dedicated in May, 2004 in Washington DC. 

Detroit’s veterans of this war represent a generation whose youngest member is nearing eighty, some six years beyond the average life expectancy of American adults. 

First conceived by Earl Morse, a retired Air Force Captain, Honor Flight is a nation-wide organization dedicated to fly veterans of World War II to view the memorial.  To date, more than a thousand vets have taken this poignant and vital trip.

Detroit: Our Greatest Generation was proud to a part of a Michigan Honor Flight on October 18, 2008.  Organized by Rick Sage and a team of dedicated volunteers from Michigan, including Rick’s wife Maureen and the irrepressible Cathy Zimmerman, the group of fifty veterans came accompanied by sons, daughters, nephews—and in many cases, alone.  Fully funded by Honor Flight Michigan, which in turn relies on donations from the private sector (this means you), the group remains focused on the notion that most vets are now at an age where they have neither the funds or the know-how to arrange such a flight themselves.  As a tug, first to your heartstrings, then to your purse strings, Honor
Flight Michigan operates without administrative overhead, paid employees or government support.

Our October trip was rescheduled from September, when a hurricane lashed the Capitol on the day we were set to travel.  A good omen, as it happens, since the October flight was picture-perfect—crisp, sunny and dry.
Will Rogers put it this way: "We can't all be heroes... Somebody has to sit on the curb and clap as they go by."

Among the heroes we first shook hands with, then clapped for, were Dudley Scott of Howell who survived the entire battle of Iwo Jima and was a hundred feet from the flag as it was raised on Suribachi. 

Albert Varatanian of Southfield, who was denied the Congressional of Medal of Honor in 1944 because he was foreign-born—General Patton himself ended up personally awarding him a Silver Star in the field, saying, “Don’t worry son, the brass doesn’t like me either.”

Mabel Carson, 92, of Dearborn; a nurse aboard USAHS Chateau Thierry during the liberation of France.  She saw enough of war’s horror to state unequivocally before the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier: “War only in a time of absolute necessity.  And Iraq is not one of them.”

A genuine ‘Band of Brothers— four Flegel brothers, who each wore a button commemorating three other Flegel brothers who have not lived to make the journey to Washington DC.

Figure that these stories, a handful among the many, represent the true depth of the valor that simple Michigan men and women displayed in the most significant conflict of the twentieth century, and who now, modestly, refer to it as ‘our duty’.

The producers of Detroit: Our Greatest Generation take it as ‘our duty’ to record these stories while we can.  The memorial?  The trip will form a significant cornerstone of the documentary, and not only because it was sixty-five years in coming.

But because we hope that it will last for sixty-five centuries.

For more information about Honor Flight Michigan: CLICK HERE

Honor Flight Michigan
P.O. Box 237
Royal Oak, MI 48068-9998

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