Recently, approximately 150 Speedway employees and family members joined nearly 800 others at the Dayton International Airport in welcoming home more than 100 veterans who participated in the latest Honor Flight. To show their unity in support of this cause, Speedway associates wore commemorativeT-shirts at the event. Speedway sponsored 10 veterans participating in Honor Flight.
Honor Flight’s mission is to take veterans of WWII, Korean, and Vietnam Wars to see their national memorials in Washington, D.C. These trips are provided at no cost to all qualified veterans. The home of Speedway’s corporate office, Enon, Ohio, is also the birthplace of Honor Flight. Founded by Enon resident Earl Morse, the first Honor Flight tour occurred in May 2005, when six small planes flew 12 World War II veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit the WWII monument, which had recently been completed.
Teri Smith, an executive administrative assistant at Speedway and an Enon resident, has been a volunteer for Honor Flight for the past four years, and helped organize Speedway’s involvement in the welcome-home celebration. “Our job is to make these heroes feel like kings and queens for the day,” shared Smith. “Honestly, I think we are the ones who are truly touched by their presence, especially at the end of the evening during the welcome-home ceremony, when we get the hugs and hear, ‘This was the best day of my life.’ It doesn’t get much better than that!”
A Vietnam veteran who was on the April 1 flight shared his emotions about the trip: “Words can’t express the thanks I have for the whole Dayton Honor Flight organization. The treatment we received was phenomenal and made a deep impression on me. I was hurt back in 1969, when I returned to the world and no one besides my family seemed to give a damn. I was resentful, knowing how guys coming back from WWII were treated compared to us. But this was a huge red letter day in my life. The greeting at the airport was but a small hint of the joy, care and gratitude that would be bestowed upon us as the day wore on. The thousands lining the corridors at the Dayton Airport were the magnificent jewel atop the crown! That was a very emotional experience for me. My tears flowed freely.”
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