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Honor Flight

July 1, 2013

Iowa – Sunday, June 23

It rained a lot last night, and the forecast wasn’t very promising for today, but since it was quiet out when I got up, I decided to head out for some walking even before I packed up and checked out. It was only a hop, skip and a jump to the town of Cresco, so Tula and I did some walking right in town and started to walk through one of the neighborhoods, but then it started to rain a bit, and I didn’t want Tula to get soaked. So she went back into the van, and I got my umbrella and continued on. The rain came and went and was never too bad, so I ended up getting 3 1/2 miles of walking done. Cresco was a good town for walking, and the downtown area had about 10 cute statues of kids from the 50s/60s that were really well-done. They looked as though a puff of fresh air could breathe life into them! Then I had to head back to the motel to pack up and check out. It began to look as though the day would clear up a bit after all.

I started driving south, and stopped in New Hampton for another couple miles of walking. Then I drove on to Charles City, where Tula and I got another 2 1/2 miles in – partly along the Cedar River, which was high and flowing fast. There were a bunch of strings (kind of like kite strings) across the river and spools of the strings were attached to poles on each side – I couldn’t figure out what they were for. I learned the word “tractor” was coined here many years ago by a company that manufactured traction motors (whatever those are). I stopped for gas at a Sinclair station – I don’t see many of those, and I always liked the dinosaur – they remind me of road trips when I was young!

Then I passed by Waterloo, where the Sullivan Hartough Davis Honor Flights originate from. This was my military related donation-of-the-day. Last Tuesday I had read about the Honor Flights originating in Iowa. Honor Flight volunteers fly WWII vets (and they’re now starting to take Korean War vets) from different hubs around the country to Washington DC, so they can see “their” memorials. This started in May of 2005, not too long after the WWII Memorial was dedicated in 2004, and I imagine it’s a very moving experience for everyone involved. I had heard of this before; in fact, back in West Virginia I was telling the lady at the veteran’s home about a program that flies veterans out to Washington DC at no charge, but I couldn’t think of the name of it. And then Linda, my friend in Tennessee, told me about her dad going on an Honor Flight out of Nashville. From what I read, by the end of 2012 more than 98,500 veterans have been able to get to Washington DC over the years to visit the memorials – there are 121 hubs in 41 states, so it’s a big program. The day I read about the Honor Flight program in Iowa was the day that the 2nd of 3 planned trips for this year took place from the Waterloo area. I called the County Supervisor since he was listed as the contact person for this hub, and he told me the full trip on Tuesday had been a success, and the September trip is filling up too. He was happy to be able to get a donation – they are always working on raising funds to keep this program going. I wasn’t sure of my timing as far as getting to the Waterloo area, but he told me to give him a call once I knew my schedule and he would meet up with me if possible. But since I came through on a Sunday afternoon, he had other family plans, which didn’t surprise me, so I just mailed in the donation. I’m happy to have “found” this group to support.

The town of Cedar Falls was right by Waterloo, and I ran across the Cedar Valley Nature Trail, which is pretty extensive, as I drove into town. Even though my walking for the day was done, it was a pretty evening out and Tula and I walked an extra mile and a half to store up for later. Then I drove down to Cedar Rapids for the night.

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