World War II Veteran Dies on ‘Honor Flight’ on Return from May 2019 D.C. Trip
Salute to U.S. #Veterans #HonorFlight
"Trained men who will stand and fight are never obsolete. It was not the bowman, but the long bow, not the cavalryman, but the horse, which vanished from the scene. Men - the man, the individual who is the Marine Corps symbol and stock in trade - constitute the one element which never changes."
Col Robert Debs Heinl, 1962
Our Time In Hell
by Lawrence Mascott
Wherever we went, we went together.
Whatever we did we did together.
Whenever we suffered, suffered as one.
Joined together, trained together, sang together.
Of Montezuma, and Tripoli, and all the rest.
Same squad, same ship, same hell, together.
And if one of us needed help, we rose together.
And if one of us were hurt, brought him back together.
And if he died, cried together.
We lived and fought and died together, and for each other.
What is esprit de corps?
Well, now hear this and pass the word:
The word is brotherhood.
Leaving with dignity, in the company of close friends, yea, even brothers, many of whom he'd just met …
Frank Manchel, 95, a WWII US Army Soldier, passed suddenly on his flight home from an all-expenses-paid trip for veterans to the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC.
Surrounded by fellow patriots and accompanied by his son, Manchel was happy and laughing in the last moments of his life. “It was almost instantaneous,” said Dave Smith, founder of Honor Flight San Diego. “He was laughing, chatting, having a good time — and then he collapsed.” His son is a physician, and he and another on board attempted to revive Manchel with no success.
“My father’s passing was the ending to the most amazing weekend, surrounded by his newest best friends,” Dr. Bruce Manchel said in a statement on Monday. “We thank all of you — Honor Flight San Diego, American Airlines, San Diego International Airport, friends, and supporters for your concern and for allowing the weekend to be so special for all of us to share together.”
San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, daughter of another veteran on board, led the entire plane in a chorus of “God Bless America” in remembrance. Manchel was shrouded in an American flag, and his fellow heroes saluted him as they disembarked.
Manchel is the seventh veteran to have died on the trips provided by the Honor Flight organization. “We know this is a potential situation,” said Smith. “We want to honor these veterans, but this is one of our worst fears that this might happen. We do everything we can to make sure these veterans are safe.”
Zimmerman had nothing but praise for Manchel and the way he was treated. “He was 100 percent engaged, proud, humble — as these veterans are,” she said. “You could just tell how proud they all were of him. It was just wonderful, a loving, loving family.”
An Honor Flight is conducted by non-profit organizations dedicated to transporting as many United States military veterans as possible to see the memorials of the respective war(s) they fought in Washington, DC, at no cost to the veterans. Currently these organizations are focused on bringing veterans of World War II to the National World War II Memorial, and any veteran with a terminal illness to see the memorial of the war they fought in. Organizers plan to "naturally transition" their programs to focus on veterans of the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and subsequent wars as the veterans of those wars get older.
Honor flights arrive at all three of the Washington's area airports: Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport, Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, and Washington Dulles International Airport. The veterans are generally escorted by volunteer guardians, who help them on the flight and around DC After landing, the taxiing airplane may be saluted by fire trucks, and passengers are often met by cheering crowds in DC or upon their return flight home.
The Honor Flight Network is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization which works as an umbrella organization with local chapters and various subgroups.
The Honor Flight Network reports that it has flown over 159,000 veterans to the Washington, DC, memorials since 2005]
The network was co-founded by Earl Morse, a physician assistant and retired Air Force captain, and Jeff Miller, a small business owner and son of a WWII veteran. Morse worked in a Department of Veterans Affairs clinic in Springfield, Ohio, where he saw many patients who were World War II veterans. After the National World War II Memorial in Washington was completed in 2004, he asked many of his veteran patients if they were going to see it, and most said yes. "I would see my World War II veterans some three, six months later," Morse said, "and I'd ask them if they'd gone to see it. Three hundred of them, and not one of them had been to it. Reality set in. They were never going." Morse offered to fly with two veterans to Washington to see the memorial, and after seeing them break down and cry and graciously accept the offer, he pitched his idea to a local aeroclub of 300 private pilots at a local Air Force base, proposing that the pilots would pay for the flights for the veterans to Washington and personally escort them around the city. Eleven volunteered, and the network was formed; by 2005, a board was formed, funds were raised, and volunteers had joined.
The first honor flight took place in May 2005, when six small planes flew 12 veterans to Washington, DC. Due to high participation, the program began using commercial flights. At the end of 2005, the program had transported 137 veterans to the memorial. In late 2005, Jeff Miller, a dry cleaning company owner in Hendersonville, North Carolina, inspired by Morse's vision, had a similar idea but on a larger scale. Miller, the son of a World War II veteran and nephew of a B-24 bomber pilot who died in the war, had been a charter member of the National World War II Memorial Foundation. Like Morse, Miller lamented that many World War II veterans would be unable to visit the memorial. The seed that Morse had planted grew to a veritable forest of volunteerism, fundraising and goodwill toward the Greatest Generation veterans, who had been too busy building their communities to demand recognition for wartime service. On 23 and 24 September and 4 November 2006, HonorAir flew more than 300 World War II veterans from the Asheville Regional Airport to Washington, free of charge. HonorAir provided everything: a medical doctor and several EMTs, guardians who would attend to the needs of three to four veterans each, tour buses to take them the World War II Memorial and other national memorials, and a box lunch. Ticket agents and passengers lined the ropes as veterans emerged from the charter jets into the terminal. CBS Sunday Morning aired a moving feature about the HonorAir effort in September 2006. Bill Geist updated the story in 2007 because it was a story that was so important to him.
The Springfield group and HonorAir soon merged to form the Honor Flight Network. As of 2014, the Honor Flight Network is still headquartered in Springfield, Ohio. Both Jeff Miller and Earl Morse were awarded the Presidential Citizens Medal in 2008 for their extensive work with the program.
“A Few Good Men”
“Son, we live in a world that has walls and those walls need to be guarded by men with guns. Who’s gonna do it? … You don’t want the truth because deep down in places you don’t talk about at parties, you want me on that wall, you need me on that wall. We use words like honor, code and loyalty. We use them as the backbone of a life trying to defend something. You use them as a punch-line. I have neither the time nor the inclination to explain myself to a man who rises and sleeps under the same blanket of the very freedom I provide and then questions the manner in which I provide it.”
Colonel Nathan R. Jessup USMC
“A Few Good Men”
God Bless the last of our World War II Vets
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