On October 14th, 2013, Wish of a Lifetime sent 20 Wish recipients from all over the country to Washington DC, some to see the memorials built in their honor for the very first time. We proudly took veterans who served in Vietnam, Korea, and WWII. Also included in this group were three Gold Star Wives who lost their husbands in service.
On the first day of the tour, the group was able to visit the Vietnam and Korean Memorial on a beautiful morning and then headed to the WWII Memorial in the afternoon. The veterans were greeted by crowds of people wanting to honor them and shake their hand. The group finished the night by having a very nice dinner at the hotel with local high school students from the Friends of the WWII Memorial, which is a volunteer group that works to preserve the stories of WWII Veterans. They did video interviews with several of the WWII Veterans and everyone enjoyed the experience.
The following morning, the group took the sobering tour of Arlington National Cemetery and was able to see the “changing of the guard” at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and then took a walk to visit Kennedy’s grave and the Eternal Flame. In the afternoon, the group did a bus tour of Washington DC and was able to visit the Iwo Jima Memorial, Air Force Memorial and take in various other sites that our nation’s capital has to offer. The trip culminated in a special dinner in Rockville, MD that was hosted by American Legion Post 86. The veterans were greeted by a full color guard and had a great time getting to know some of the local veterans who showed up to honor them.
This trip happened to take place during a very tense time in Washington DC, as the government shutdown continued throughout our journey. Regardless of the negativity that prevailed in Washington DC, our group of veterans was unflinchingly positive and their experience truly was a “Journey of Heroes.” A special thanks to our sponsors, Vital Life and Brookdale Senior Living, as well as American Legion Post 86, DIA, Frontier Airlines, Sheraton-Crystal City and Friends of the World War II Memorial.