May 6, 2016

VITAS Proudly Supported a Very Special Veteran Honor Flight in South Florida

Veterans and VITAS Staff at Miami National Airport

VITAS worked side-by-side with Honor Flight South Florida to celebrate veterans’ contributions to our nation. Pictured are delighted veterans upon their return from visiting war memorials in Washington, D.C. and VITAS Community Liaisons Karin Edelstein and Nancy Auster, on April 2, 2016 at Miami International Airport.

Transporting America's Veterans

VITAS Veteran Liaison Karin Edelstein was beaming with pride as she proudly represented VITAS Healthcare on a special flight in a plane with 78 Vietnam War veterans, who accompanied 78 WWII veterans—a first-of-its-kind trip for Honor Flight of South Florida, an organization dedicated to transport America's veterans to Washington, D.C., to visit the memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifices.

Everything about this special trip had symbolic meaning for the veterans. For instance, the veterans boarded the Washington, D.C.-bound Eastern Airlines flight number “1941” in honor of the beginning of WWII, and returned to Miami the same night on flight number “1945” in honor of the end of the war.

In D.C., the veterans visited Arlington National Cemetery, the WWII Memorial and the Vietnam Wall. Perhaps the most emotional part of the visit was felt on their return home to Miami, where the veterans were welcomed in the airport’s arrival section by a cheering crowd of family members, friends, local military, and community and news organizations who wanted to lend their support.

NBC 6 News Miami was at the airport to capture the homecoming and spoke with Vietnam Veteran Glenn Saffon, Military Intelligence, who said that the event was very touching. “It's very emotional, but it's also extremely gratifying. The welcome that we've had every stop of the way by thousands of people, thanking us for our service and applauding, it just means so very much," said Glenn. 

Military Officials at Miami International Airport

For the first time on Saturday, April 2, 2016, Vietnam War veterans accompanied WWII veterans on an Honor Flight trip to visit war memorials in Washington, D.C. Upon their return to Miami International Airport, they were greeted by a large cheering crowd of bystanders, veteran-supporters and other military officials (pictured).

Veterans are given a warm welcome at Miami's airport

On Saturday, April 2, 2016, VITAS Veteran Liaison Karin Edelstein accompanied 78 Vietnam War veterans and 78 WWII veterans as they participated in the first-ever dual veteran flight experience through Honor Flight of South Florida. According to WSVN-TV, which was on site for the veterans’ return, Vietnam War veteran Greg Chippone said, "We never got a 'Welcome Back' for Vietnam like this."

Boy Scouts welcome back Vietnam and WWII Vets

After visiting Washington, D.C. war memorials on April 2, 2016, on the first-ever dual veteran flight experience though Honor Flight South Florida, WWII veterans and Vietnam War veterans accompanied by VITAS Healthcare Community Liaison Karin Edelstein, were welcomed back home by cheering supporters, including Boy Scouts (pictured).


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