The Honor Was All Mine


By Douglas Katz – 08/27/2022

I am writing the rare non-real estate related post to share an amazing experience that you can play a part in to providing a true thanks to our veterans, especially those who were poorly treated in the past.  We have done better as a country to never again repeat that mistake, but we can do more.  As a veteran who accompanied another vet on the trip as his guardian, I can definitely tell you that when we do more it matters and the result is something that chokes up even the most stoic hearts.  I am talking about The Honor Flight, which it seems many have heard about but few really know much about and even fewer support with their time or financial resources.  I am here to tell you that even the smallest support truly matters.

My flight, the first in three years for my organization, was one that I fell upon due to lucky timing, the need for a guardian and a willingness to help.  I had recently become affiliated with an amazing group out of Northwest Illinois, The Veterans Networking Committee of Northwest Illinois to be exact.  Their trip was longer than the typical flight and afforded the veterans a more complete trip, which is huge as many who served have never been to our capital or the memorials and museums in their honor.  Being self-employed, four days is a lot of time and lost productivity, but the gain was beyond the loss and inconvenience.  Before you even ask, there were times leading up that I thought about whether or not I could give up the time, but the whole harder right versus easier wrong kicked in.

The four day trip was far more moving that a cynical guy like myself expected.  I had been told that these trips are more than a trip for many of these folks and now I get it.  The monuments, museums, statues and plaques are cool no doubt, but the childlike excitement and joy at seeing the representations of why they served mixed with the emotion of feeling the support and appreciation of those they they took an oath to protect many years ago.

I feel that I could provide you with a great narrative on the trip to really see what this means to them by showing thanks in lieu of just verbal recognition, but that would not do it justice.  In the pics and video , you’ll see the different locations and the high points.  What you won’t see are proud men and women wiping away tears at the wall or when the honored vets receive mail call from family and strangers.  You won’t experience the awe of having someone share a personal story from decades ago that they had not shared with a single family member.  You won’t see the regained pride of service in one of our Vietnam veterans.  You won’t see the the gratitude that they all feel as an appreciation for the time and sacrifice.  I can assure you, however, that they are all there and the honor was all mine to be a small part in making this happen for these great servicemen and women.

2:30 AM Arrival of Trip Staff and Volunteers.  Yes, that is 2:30 in the morning!
Tomb of the Unkown
Museum of the United States Navy (GO ARMY!)
Getting Ready for Picture at The Museum of the United States Marine Corps.
Honoring the women veterans and the female guardians at the Women’s Military Museum.

Escort home compliments of the Patriot Riders (a lot of them) and various police and fire departments along the way.
Back home for a hero’s’ welcome.

If this motivates you to want to do more, please reach out and I can hopefully help you get in touch with someone to help.  You can also easily find information on trips in your area where you can help and your help will definitely meaningful.  What you have seen is probably the amazing pictures and media coverage from the trip itself, not the planning, fund-raising and logistical efforts which make the trip.

For more information on my organization, the amazing things that they do in addition to Honor Flight or Honor Flight for McHenry County/Rockford – search Veterans Networking Committee of Northern Illinois or contact me, I would be glad to assist.