Clarendon Hills, IL, May 25, 2016 --(PR.com
)-- Most American veterans have lived their entire lives without ever seeing the memorials designed to honor them.
Bill Buckley, a resident of The Birches Assisted Living in Clarendon Hills, Ill., was one such veteran until last month when he took his first trip to Washington D.C. with the Honor Flight Network —a nonprofit organization that transports veterans to Washington D.C. to visit the memorials honoring their service.
Buckley’s Honor Flight was arranged by his daughter Jill Fishella, who wanted to see her father recognized for his service as a Marine during World War II.
Fishella filled out the Honor Flight application for her father and waited a year before she found out her father was accepted.
“I was in tears the day they told me he was accepted,” said Fishella. “They explained the whole day to me and it sounded so fabulous, it just made me well up.”
According to Fishella, the Honor Flight trip was a whirlwind of a day in which her father had to be at Midway Airport before 4 a.m. and didn’t arrive home until after 8 p.m.
The agenda of each Honor Flight is a bit different depending on the amount of time they have and who is attending, but for the most part, a group of veterans flies to D.C. where they visit the National World War II Memorial and the Korean War Veterans Memorial. They have lunch, and, if there’s time, they visit the National Air and Space Museum before taking a flight back.
Even though it’s a long day, Buckley says it was worth it. He even ran into a Marine he served with in World War II on his Honor Flight.
“He spotted me on the flight and called my name. He recognized me right away,” said Buckley.
Buckley and his fellow Marine served together on a repair ship that fixed damaged vessels. Their ship spent time in the Channel Islands, but also traveled around Asia— passing by Japan, China and the Philippines. Although, as crew members, they mostly stayed on board.
Buckley said he enjoyed visiting with other servicemen, spending time in D.C. and seeing the war memorials, but his favorite part of the trip was actually the time spent going to and from because he hadn’t been on an airplane in so long.
“My favorite part was the departure and the return. I really enjoyed being on the airplane,” said Buckley.
But, of course, Buckley said the whole trip was an experience of a lifetime— one he will not soon forget.
“I was so excited and surprised when I found out I was going,” said Buckley. “We got to see quite a few memorials, and it was truly a pleasure and an honor to be recognized.”
The Birches Assisted Living in Clarendon Hills offers professional services to support the physical, social, intellectual and spiritual growth of the older adults who make it their home. The Birches offers purposeful programming and activities designed to promote a healthy aging lifestyle and a strong sense of community. For more information about The Birches, call 630-789-1135 or visit: birches.net.