For the past nine years, Wish of a Lifetime has hosted an unforgettable experience for our veterans to commemorate their service and sacrifice with a bi-annual trip to Washington, D.C. This past May, six veterans from across the country traveled with Wish of a Lifetime to our nation’s capital to visit the memorials and museums constructed in their honor for the very first time. Among these six veterans were three individuals that reside in affordable housing options provided by GHC Housing Partners. Without the work of GHC Housing Partners these veterans wouldn’t have had the chance to travel to D.C.
On May 17, 2018, Wish of a Lifetime planned an intimate celebration to kickstart this trip of a lifetime for the four Vietnam and two WWII veterans. They enjoyed a celebration send-off in the airport with staff volunteers and special guests. These amazing older adults were able to meet each other and swap stories before the big trip. They were all thrilled to finally witness the places that saluted their service and, more importantly, the sacrifices of those friends and brothers they lost to war.
As activist Arthur Ashe once said, “True heroism is remarkably sober, very undramatic. It is not the urge to surpass all others at whatever cost, but the urge to serve others at whatever cost.” All of theses veterans were incredible servants to our country, but three of these veterans especially embody this unassuming integrity of true heroism with their unrelenting desire to serve and protect others, even when they themselves have never had much.
Arterik, Leonard and Charles live in various communities provided to them by GHC Housing Partners, without whom they would not have an affordable housing option. It is sobering to realize that these brave men who have put their lives on the line and who have dedicated their lives for our freedoms might be forgotten and left behind.
Leonard grew up in a home without electricity, but he knew he wanted to serve, and at 20, he enlisted in the National Guard. “Our forefathers put their lives on the line, and I always tried to do the right thing,” Leonard said. A true storyteller, Leonard kept everyone swapping stories and jokes throughout the trip to keep spirits high, even as they remembered those whom they had lost.
The contributions of our oldest generations to society are invaluable, especially their contributions of courage and sacrifice in times of tyranny and injustice. Our veterans epitomize the ideals upon which our nation was founded over two hundred years ago. On this Independence Day, we commemorate the sacrifices of our founding fathers and the sacrifices of our veterans today.