In honor of Veteran's Day, my son's Boy Scout troop held a flag retirement ceremony this evening.
Thank you, to my grandfather, my great-uncle, and to all of the men and women who have served our country.
Tourists, students, and teachers.
Senators, security officers, and national park rangers.
Active servicemen and women, volunteers, and civilians.
With handshakes, hugs, and even photos, everyone expressed his gratitude to our veterans for their service to our country.
It was deemed as one of the best days of their lives. It wasn't a short day, as it was non-stop 24 hours of honoring our veterans.
Wednesday morning began like no other, meeting at 2:00 am at Mid-American Coaches for the bus ride to the airport. Once the veterans and the escorts (called guardians) were loaded onto the bus, we headed out with our Missouri State Trooper escort.
This was the first of many special escorts we would have.
We were dropped off at Terminal 2 for our Southwest Airlines flight and were immediately greeted by the USO with coffee.
Airport security opened up a special section just for our veterans, making sure our trip started off smoothly.
Note: there are many photos in this post, and it may take a little bit for all of them to load. Please be patient so you can see and read about the entire experience.
The Freedom Wall has 4,000 sculpted gold stars on it, and each star represents 100 lives lost in the war.
On the bus ride home, the group was again escorted by the Missouri State Troopers. And along the way, the Freedom Riders joined the entourage, clearing the way for the bus to make sure our precious veterans made it home safely.
We did not stop at a single red light all the way back to Washington, Missouri.
If you are a veteran, or you know one in the area, who would like to see your memorials in Washington DC, do not hesitate to submit an application for this amazing trip. There is no cost to you.
The Franklin County Honor Flight is run completely on donations from individuals and businesses. To contribute to this wonderful program, you can donate online here.
The letter arrived on my birthday two weeks ago. And this past Friday, I was quite honored to be awarded the Franklin County 4-H Distinguished Service Award.
The award was in recognition of my work with the Franklin County Fair Queen Contest for many years. I chaired and organized the event, adding a scholarship award for the court, as well as established a written essay as a judged requirement in the contest, with the Exemplary Essay Award for the top essay.
By the end of my "reign" we had also morphed the contest to include FFA members. Previously, the queen contest was only for 4-H members.
And bonus, my friend Kaylin Bade received the Distinguished Service award also for her work with the queen contest (she took over when I stepped down). Thank you to Franklin County Missouri 4-H and Dave Hileman for choosing us for the award buy synthroid this year!
Why is the Franklin County Fair Queen Contest different than your average pageant or queen contest? This event is based mainly on a young lady's community service, citizenship, leadership, and interview with the judges. A small portion is on stage presence.
I never won the big prize of queen, but I was selected by the other contestants as Miss Congeniality when I was 16 years old. And that was quite an honor, coming from a group of 15 to 18 year old peers.
P.S. The dress I wore for the contest...I made it in sewing class, and won a blue ribbon at the fair for it.