Honor Flight South Florida takes World War II veterans to Washington, D.C. to see the monuments dedicated to their service. The program provides the trips for free.
Edgar "Buddy" Galvin survived to tell his tale of World War II. Among other moments, he vividly remembers flying out of England looking for submarines. But stories like Galvin's are often lost when veterans of the "Greatest Generation" pass away.
"World War II veterans are dying off at 800 to 1,000 a day," said Galvin, a Navy veteran. "So time is limited."
Since time is of the essence, when Galvin heard about Honor Flight he knew he just had to make the trip. In November 2013, Galvin was one of 16 veterans flown for free from Fort Lauderdale to the nation's capital to see the World War II memorial.
"Just being there and being a World War II veteran is emotional," Galvin said.
The Honor Flight is more than just a trip to the memorial. The celebration begins bright and early at the Fort Lauderdale airport, where the veterans are celebrities, escorted by their very own guardians who volunteer to be travel companions.
"It's heartwarming to know that people care," Galvin said.
"Many times we hear relatives say he never talks about the war," said George Ferguson, Board Treasurer for Honor Flight South Florida. "But if you're on one of our flights you'll hear them talk about the war, because now they're with their friends."
The day-long trip also features a stop at the Arlington National Cemetery, a special lunch, and a huge homecoming parade, but there are some highlights Buddy wanted left out for the next group of vets.
"I want them to be surprised," Galvin said. "So we'll have a secret between us."
The next honor flight with available seats takes off in March. If you'd like more information on Honor Flight South Florida, visit their website at www.honorflightsouthflorida.org.