Dear Orange Friends:
A few weeks ago, I had the great honor of escorting a group of Syracuse area veterans to Washington, D.C. The trip was sponsored by the Syracuse chapter of Honor Flight. Honor Flight is a national nonprofit that sends veterans, cost-free, to visit the national memorials honoring their service.
The trip to the memorials was a first for many of these veterans, who because of age- or health-related limitations had been unable to manage such a visit on their own. They were primarily veterans of World War II and the Korean War—truly the Greatest Generation.
This was the ninth such mission for the local Honor Flight chapter since its co-founding in 2012 by a Syracuse University alumnus, retired U.S. Navy Rear Adm. John J. Paddock ’66. Our group flew out of Syracuse on a chartered flight early Saturday morning, April 29, and returned that evening. A “Welcome Home” ceremony and parade followed, led by our own Syracuse University ROTC color guard and a large group of current Syracuse student veterans.
I was an assistant on Bus No. 3 as we toured Washington. All day, in conversations with the veterans and the volunteers, I was reminded how much there is to admire in these humble, gutsy, irrepressible, and patriotic men and women. They are matter-of-fact about what they did, and continue to care deeply about our country.
On Monday, our nation will observe Memorial Day. That day, I will remember those on Honor Flight No. 9 and the sacrifices of all those who served with them.
Chancellor Kent Syverud