By Bob Moore
On May 30 – June 1,2001 Twenty-nine World War II and Korean Conflict Vets were invited to represent all East Texas Veterans in Washington DC on Memorial Day.
Let me share with you some of the emotions we felt, things we did, and what those three days meant to us.
At 7:30 a.m., May 30, 2016 we came together in the lobby of the Tyler Airport. There was a huge crowd shoving, hugging, loving, patting, shaking hands and saying, “Thank You for Your Service.” For three wonderful days this was our greeting everywhere we went. We left Tyler with a Water Cannon Salute in a new American Airliner.
The smoothest landing, I have ever experienced was at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport at 1:30 p.m. The greeting at DC was wild. More Cheers and, “Thank You for Your Service.”
Our Driver and Tour Guide for the entire trip were excellent. Our tour began at the Airforce and Navy Memorials. We saw where that plane came in low, clipped the stuff off the top of a motel, dove and hit the Pentagon.
We took time to stand on a hill to remember those who lost their lives on 9-11. Our enemies made a big mistake the day they bombed Pearl Harbor and our enemies made a big mistake on 9/1/2001.
We ate that evening at Hill Country BBQ in DC. That is what Texans do.
On Tuesday, May 31,2016 we went to Arlington National Cemetery at 8:30 a.m. We saw the Changing of the Guard. It is a place of silence. Most of us ran out of tears a long time ago. My high school buddies Chuck, Darrell, and Jelly never came back. I remembered the good times. We stopped by Audie Murphy’s grave. Good memories of a brave Texas boy.
Next stop was at the Memorials. My feelings were different than I had expected. Everywhere we went the people smiled, thanked us, gave us seats, got off the elevators so we could get on. I have a good feeling about our country. I think my buddies who did not come back would have that same feeling.
We were making our way to the Lincoln Memorial. The 19 wheel chairs had some great drivers, and crowds were giving up their places in lines for us. We arrived at the top, right there with Abraham Lincoln. A humongous crowd of teenagers were being teenagers. The saw us, shook hands and said, “Thanks for Your Service.” Next thing, they formed a group and sang THE STAR SPANGLED BANNER. There was not a dry eye anywhere.
The best tour guide of our Capitol is Congressman Louie Gohmert (of Tyler, Texas). Louie had us laughing and made history come alive. It had been a wonderful, long day and it was time to eat. A Knights of Columbus group feed us and the whole community was there to say, “Thanks for Your Service.”
On Wednesday, June 1,2016 we made a stop at the Air and Space Museum. It is a “must see.” Then, it was on to Baltimore for a great send off.
We arrived home to another Water Cannon Salute and a large crowd hugging, loving, shaking hands, and saying, “Thank You for Your Service.”
The words “Thank You” are not enough to express our feeling for what Brookshire’s has done for us. All of you made 29 Veterans feel really good. Thanks for being here for us.