Would it be possible for a daughter to be more proud of her father? I think not. I am proud to tell you that my father, TSgt. Bill Thoms Sr. (USAF ret.) was among 40 war veterans chosen to make an Honor Flight. Veterans of WWII, the Korean conflict, and Vietnam war boarded a flight out of Austin, Texas on September 7, 2018, destination Washington DC. The goal: giving these under appreciated vets a chance to view, touch, and acknowledge the war memorials erected to serve as a reminder of hard-fought freedom, a service they provided with their blood, sweat, and tears. Oh, I know that’s a cliche, but do you see the truth in it? Can you imagine what these men and women went through, what they saw, how they felt? I can’t. Although I was raised an Air Force brat, all I knew as a child was that Daddy was always gone somewhere across the world. I was too young to understand the whys and wherefores but I do remember the fear that plagued the hearts of my older brother and I while he was at war.
Dad is a veteran of Korea and Vietnam wars. He offered 22 years of his life to the United States Air Force. He served his country with an uncommon pride. He was a good leader and teacher who had a heart for the young airman he ‘sarged’ who were away from their families and were decidedly homesick. He would bring them home on weekends and holidays to ease their angst.
Another thing about Dad, he loves his family. His grandson Will accompanied him as his required guardian – as if he needed one! (Even at 87, Dad is amazingly with it.) It was just as important and moving for the grandson as it was for the grandfather. How lucky was Will and what an awesome opportunity! I’d be willing to bet these two share memories that will have a lasting impact on the rest of their lives. No doubt, no doubt at all.
Please enjoy the following pictures of this dream-come-true trip made possible by Honor Flight Austin. It is a privilege for me to share them.
getting ready to leave
No, that’s not a hat on Dad’s head!
Dad and Will getting ready to leave. And no, that’s not a hat on Dad’s head. Honored to accompany the Vets was Brian Manley, Austin Chief of Police.
Honor Flight Escort
Look at these wonderful Vets! Dad is the 4th one in the second row.
Dad getting chummy with the President. The Air Force Monument, and the boys in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
Air Force Memorial with the Pentagon in the background. He served them and he served them well.
Dad proudly sitting in front of the WWII memorial, Texas pillar. Too young to serve in that war, but proud nevertheless.
The Vietnam Memorial Wall. His opportunity to see it is long past due. Bless his heart.
Air Force Monument. I can imagine Dad just about burst at the seams when he saw this one. For many years the Air Force was his life.
At the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Dad is the 3rd from the left.
Please note the link I have included. It is from the Fox 7 news in Austin, Texas. Really good viewing that shows the Vet’s parade, etc.
AND THEN THERE WAS THE WELCOME HOME!
On the flight back to Austin, our vets received letters from loved ones and friends thanking them for their service. Lots of love and tears were aboard that flight. Once they landed in Austin, look out! Please enjoy the following, it’s well worth the view.
I understand that all veterans deserve to be recognized. Each and every one deserves to be saluted for their contribution, their sacrifices. They deserve to be honored. And by the way, I do include our men and women in the Middle East even as we speak. I thank them all for their service.
Bill, Scott,and I, with our spouses, as well as all your grandchildren, want to thank you, Dad, for your service. I do believe that serving your country was the most extraordinary and accomplished thing you have ever done.
Please pray for peace. This blog post should convince you that we should pray and pray hard for peace in the world. We’ve lost too many soldiers and loved ones. It’s a sad, sad thing.
Eternal Father, we praise you for helping us get through these man-made conflicts that break hearts and destroy humanity. Thank you, Lord, for these Vets who serve their country. We ask, Lord, for your compassion and mercy for the days ahead. We pray for peace! Amen
GOD BLESS AMERICA
Please note: Photo cred goes to Tina Lea of HONOR FLIGHT AUSTIN.