WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — The bugle played “Taps” as the hushed crowd marked a moment of memory at the Tomb of the Unknowns, at Arlington National Cemetery.
For the veterans and their escorts from Honor Flight Maine, the ceremony underscored the solemn aspect of what all are praising as a memorable, uplifting experience.
The veterans and others in the Maine entourage began the day with the more celebratory feeling of the World War II memorial. The large granite arches and columns, the fountain and historical lacquers paid tribute to the pivotal event of the 20th century, a war in which 16 million Americans served in uniform.
The Honor Flight veterans and their guardian escorts then watched the changing of the guard at Arlington Cemetery, visited the huge Iwo Jima Marine Corps memorial, then the more somber memorials to the killed in the wars in Korea and Vietnam.
For all on the trip, it was a chance to share emotions and memories that are still strong after more than half a century and to remember a time that affected these service members, in different ways, for the rest of their lives.
The Honor Flight Maine group is scheduled return to the Portland Jetport early Sunday afternoon, where a big “welcome home” celebration is planned.