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On an Honor Flight with my Dad

By on May 30, 2018 in Travel with 0 Comments

Julie Tarbert and her dad stand facing the Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall with the Washington Monument in the background.

By Donna Cassidy

Julie Tarbert, of Wenatchee, joined her Korean War veteran father, John Bayne, on an Honor Flight to Washington D.C. in May, and said, “It was a very moving experience.”

The Honor Flight flies veterans of war to Washington D.C., all expenses paid for two days, to see memorials associated with their time of service, and other memorials.

Volunteers are recruited to travel with the veterans to ensure their safety. Honor Flight calls them guardians. Julie was John’s guardian. Guardians have to pay their own way. This Honor Flight is put on by the Inland Northwest Honor Flight out of Spokane.

“What a fabulous and dedicated group,” said Julie.

John enlisted in the Navy with his brother Bob Bayne when John was 18 and Bob 20. They served together on a destroyer during the Korean War from 1950 to 1953.

The honor flight took off from Spokane on a chartered plane at 8 a.m. and got into D.C. about 3:30 p.m. Buses took the veterans and their guardians to the WW II Memorial and the Marine Corps War Memorial then to a banquet in their honor.

John Bayne at the World War II Memorial.

The next morning at 7:45 a.m. buses carried the guests to the Arlington Cemetery to watch the changing of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and saw the Women in Military Service for America Memorial. They also saw the Korean War Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, The United States Navy Memorial and Museum and the Air Force Memorial.

“It was so moving seeing strangers acknowledge their service,” said Julie. “That and seeing their own memorials.”

Police escorted the three buses through D.C. that included sirens, running stop signs and red lights and driving in the wrong lanes. “The veterans all loved that,” said Julie.

Back on the plane they had a surprise “Mail Call” from friends and relatives back home (“hardly a dry eye on the plane,” said Julie) then a welcome home parade when they landed in Spokane, which made them feel special and appreciated.

“What moved my dad the most and most of the vets was the mail call. The thank you notes and letters from family and friends, kids, grandkids and great-grand kids. It really meant a lot to them,” she said.

“It was a once in a lifetime event and my dad was glad he went. He was moved by the whole trip and the hard work the Honor Flight put into organizing it.

“They all felt very special and they all had big smiles on their faces.”

John Bayne and his brother, Bob, when they were sailors: John in the middle and Bob on the left.

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