Rebekah Josefy '13 October 2, 2017 1:30 PM updated: October 9, 2017 2:13 PM
Honor Flight Houston and the Corps of Cadets Association are planning a special Aggie Honor Flight for 20 Korean War veterans who are also all Aggies and former Corps of Cadet members.
Honor flights are two-day, all-expenses-paid trips for veterans of the U.S. armed forces to travel to Washington, D.C., to see the memorials dedicated to their service, and the Oct. 20-21 honor flight is dedicated to Aggie veterans of the Korean War. In conjunction with this flight, all Aggies, no matter their location, are invited to be involved in honoring these veterans through a few specific opportunities coordinated by Honor Flight Houston.
Each veteran will travel with a guardian who is a chaperone for their every need on the trip. Guardians are usually family members, but if necessary, a volunteer from the community or the Honor Flight Houston organization fills the role. Coordinators say that many of the guardians for this special Aggie Honor Flight are also former Corps of Cadet members, former students, or current Corps of Cadet students. A small medical staff and coordinating staff will go on the trip as well.
The group will visit some key sites and memorials, including The National Mall – WWII Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, Iwo Jima (Marines Memorial) and Constitution Gardens.
They will also visit Arlington National Cemetery to view the Changing of the Guard and have lunch at the Air Force Memorial. During their time at the Korean War Memorial, the veterans will be honored by a joint color presentation and singing of the national anthem and will see a wreath presentation, and hear an explanation of the memorial by a representative of the National Mall and Memorial Parks National Park Service.
Ashley French '06 serves as Chairman of the Houston Honor Flight board of directors and was recognized for her service in August 2016 as an honoree of the Daily Point of Light Award, established by President George H. W. Bush. French was part of the original team who helped bring the Honor Flight Network to Houston in 2013.
French says the organization does many little things throughout the trip to help make it special. There are two things for which they could use the Aggie Network's help —Mail Call and Welcome Home.
"Mail Call is how soldiers used to receive communication from home before satellites, email and cell phones. So we ask all of the veterans' family and friends to write letters to their veterans and send them to us. Our community is equally important and welcome to write letters to these veterans.
"Welcome Home is a particularly special way to participate. We ask as many people as possible— family, friends, volunteers and strangers, alike—to show up to Hobby Airport when the veterans return home and welcome them home properly. We create a parade route on the departures level of Hobby Airport and have the Houston Fire Department bagpipe and drum corps come out to properly lead the way.
"We ask everyone to bring home-made posters, American (and Aggie, in this instance) flags and lots of good cheer. Our Korean War Veterans did not receive much of a welcome home upon their return. There is a reason it is known as the ‘Forgotten War.’ We aim to recognize them and show our appreciation for their service and sacrifices to this country. Having all our Houston Aggies come out to show support would be amazing."
Below are the instructions for participating in Mail Call. Honor Flight Houston asks that all Mail Call letters be received by Oct. 16. For details regarding Welcome Home, visit the Facebook event here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1866416860355265/ or visit www.honorflighthouston.org.