Flight, delayed

time to kill in DC

an hour, maybe two;

we must reframe

such an inconvenience.

Suddenly, a burst of activity

one gate over

men and women appear,

gray and silver haired

dressed like the Fourth of July

carrying balloons

bunting, posters

musical instruments.


Among them a tall, lanky

bespectacled man

in a red fedora with a large feather


hard to miss

the three-piece suit

blazing red to match his hat.

The band sets up by the gateway

red, white and blue decorations

the airport crowd grows

curious, intrigued and then

the signs and posters go up.


Honor Flight.

Military veterans arriving

any moment

for their flight back home

to Fort Wayne

after a day visiting memorials:

World War II



The band starts in

swing music, upbeat

a woman in her 80s

bobby pins in gray hair

passes around a tray of cookies

everybody’s smiling

strangers dance,

women in polka dot hoop skirts twirling

red fedora man

leading the way,

agile as someone half his age.


Passengers en route elsewhere

stop, smile, take photos and video

anticipation growing;

finally, cheers and applause

the music and dancing stop

they have arrived,

coming toward us slowly

matching T-shirts and name tags

some in wheelchairs

each accompanied, escorted

caps and jackets

identify the war, the branch

of service.


The applause dies down

the music and dancing resume

handshakes, hugs and smiles all around

tired faces show gratitude, appreciation

masking whatever else

they felt hours earlier

among the fountains

the plaques

the numbers

the stark figures slogging through the rain

the names

the wall.


They are going home.


About Jim McKeever

Writer, father, runner, advocate based in Central New York.
This entry was posted in Irish Investigations, war and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to HONOR

  1. Mary M. McLaughlin, PhD. says:


    Mary McLaughlin, PhD Executive Director Cape Haven, Inc. Website: http://www.capehaven.org


  2. markbialczak says:

    Thanks for sharing the moment, my friend Jim.


  3. Wish I had been there


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