War veterans enjoyed a well-deserved free trip to Washington, D.C., this week, thanks to the Honor Flight charity. But before their departure Tuesday from the St. Pete-Clearwater International Airport in Florida, the 75 veterans of World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars were treated to a stirring rendition of “God Bless America.”
It all started when one of the veterans began playing the song on his harmonica. Within seconds, the vets and just about everyone else in the boarding gate area were on their feet, hands over their hearts, singing along. At the end, there was a round of applause.
Honor Flight is a nonprofit organization that flies veterans to the nation’s capital for free so that they can visit memorials built in their honor. Priority is given to aging World War II survivors, as well as to veterans who might be terminally ill. The organization encourages people to volunteer to escort the veterans on the flights or to greet them at the airport upon departure and arrival.