May 12, 2018 – Broome County – In the evening hours the day before Mother’s Day, several hundred residents, families and supporters of our veterans gathered in Hangar 1 at the Greater Binghamton Airport. The purpose that drew in some people from over 3 hours away was a very simple one – 60 veterans were on a return flight after being honored in Washington D.C. For some of these veterans, the gathering of support and appreciation for their struggles on behalf of the nation in World War II, the Korean War, the Bay of Pigs, and Vietnam War would be the first display of celebration they had ever received.
This event comes at a time when 66% of millennials, and 41% of the public in general, cannot recognize the horror of the Auschwitz. 22% of millennials and 11% of the general public aren’t even sure they had ever heard of the Holocaust according to a recent poll. With barely 3% of the veterans who served in WWII still alive (less than 558,000 veterans are still estimated to be alive out of the 16.1 million American service members that served in that war as of 2017) the opportunity to honor these living legends is disappearing quickly. But the non-profit Twin Tiers Honor Flight Inc. sought to correct this lack of information, introducing the public to these veterans and those of other wars.
Twin Tiers Honor Flight, founded in 2012, is part of the Honor Flight Network. These organizations are dedicated to embracing our veterans. According to the Facebook page of the organization,
“We transport our heroes to Washington, D.C. to visit and reflect at their memorials. Top priority is given to the senior veterans – World War II survivors, Korean and Vietnam veterans, and terminally ill veterans of any conflict.”
Exclusive video of the event includes some of the pre-arrival program. It featured dance recitals by local middle and high school students, an acapella performance by the Southernterismen (a babershop chorus founded in 1943), and a bagpipe performance. Amid the mixed audience, with attendees ranging in age from toddlers to senior citizens, were several members of law enforcement and elected officials including Legislator Kelly Wildoner and Congresswoman Claudia Tenney.
With the arrival from Washington D.C. at about 8pm, the veterans were were announced and welcomed to applause, cheerleaders, the Parlor City Dolls (period specific models), the Boy Scouts, and fellow veterans from multiple organizations. The exclusive video shows each member as they disembarked and were announced to the adoring audience. Elected officials County Executive Jason Garnar, Assemblywoman Donna Lupardo, and Congresswoman Claudia Tenney each took a turn to address the veterans and thank them for their service.
This event was the seventh Honor Flight, with the eighth planned for October 14, 2018. Here is a link to learn more about Twin Tier Honor Flight Inc.