Before the days of email, social media and texting, getting letters from home was a way for America’s soldiers to stay in touch with their loved ones. Steve Paulsell, with Central Missouri Honor Flight, recalls one trip with a WWII veteran who grew up moving from orphanage to orphanage.
“When mail call was called, his name was never called because he didn’t have any family writing letters to him,” says Paulsell.
The organization brings back that special “mail call” memory for veterans by secretly contacting family and friends to write letters to them. At 35,000 feet in the air on an honor flight, the northeast Missouri war hero got a special delivery.
“For the first time ever, this veteran had his name called in mail call,” Paulsell says. “We have a lot of school kids and businesses who write “Dear Veteran” letters. It was a very, very emotional time for him.”
The man kept his memories close to his heart from that trip to visit the nation’s war memorials in Washington, D.C.
“About a year-and-a-half later, we got a call from a nurse up in Hannibal to let us know that this veteran had passed away and the last three days of his life, he was at her ICU at the hospital,” says Paulsell. “She said, “For the last three days he did nothing but talk about his honor flight – how meaningful that was to him.’ And she said, ‘When he passed away, he had those letters in his hand.’”
Paulsell has story after story of veterans walking away from honor flights with life-changing experiences and memories for life. Veterans wishing to sign up for an honor flight can click here.
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