Dysart Takes Honor Flight of a Lifetime

Attorney Lewis Dysart was given the opportunity to participate in an Honor Flight trip to the nation’s capital. Honor Flight is a non-profit organization which transports America’s veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit those memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifices. Lewis was part of a group of more than 90 veterans and guests that traveled to D.C. in October with the Honor Flight team.

Lewis’s introduction to Honor Flight began in the spring when his sister-in-law took him to see a documentary film at the Glenwood Theatre. Members of Honor Flight were at the theatre encouraging veterans to fill out applications to participate in upcoming trips. Little did Lewis know that he would become one of the select men to take an Honor Flight this fall. He was later contacted by a member of the organization, inviting him to participate in an upcoming trip. Lewis then asked his son, Bob, to join him since each veteran must bring a guest who serves as his/her guardian on the trip.

Their journey to Washington, D.C. started in the early hours of Wednesday, October 2. This group of 90 World War II veterans was the largest ever sent to Washington by Heartland Honor Flight. Veterans and their guardians were each assigned to a color team for the day – red, white, blue and gold. Everything from their attire to the buses were color coded to keep everyone organized and on schedule.

Dysart commented that, “It was the best organized event that I’ve ever attended for that many people. The volunteers with Honor Flight had outstanding attitudes and excellent service.”

The Honor Flights left Kansas City International Airport at 6 a.m. and were at the first memorial by 10:30 a.m. Since the veterans were traveling to the Capitol in the midst of the government shut-down, some were afraid that they wouldn’t be able to access the memorials. However, politicians scrambled to ensure that those traveling with Honor Flight could get special permission for their trip. The veterans were very thankful for the political assistance with entrance into the memorials, but they had no idea what else was in store for them.

When they arrived at the WWII Memorial, hundreds of students, bystanders and government officials greeted them. The students were holding signs thanking the veterans for their service. Senator Claire McCaskill, Senator Pat Roberts, Congressman Emanuel Cleaver II and Congresswoman Michele Bachmann were also among the cheering crowd.

Dysart described the crowd’s greeting as “a heartwarming experience.”

Their next stops included the Korean, Air Force and Marine memorials. The trip concluded in the afternoon at the Tomb of Unknowns at Arlington National Cemetery.

When the Honor Flight veterans and guardians returned to Kansas City late that night, they were given another grand welcome from hundreds of people cheering, a band and an honor guard. The crowd spread out from Gates 1 to 7 at the airport terminal. It reminded Dysart of the scene when Paris, France, was liberated.

“Several experiences that day brought tears to my eyes and my son’s eyes about the treatment they were giving us for a most wonderful day,” said Dysart. “It is a blessing that the Honor Flight team passed my way.”

Please visit the Heartland Honor Flight website for more information. They are currently accepting applications and donations for trips in spring 2014.