By John B. Lund, President & CEO
In November, we celebrate two national holidays, Veterans’ Day and Thanksgiving. As citizens of this country, there is much for which we are rightly grateful, not the least being our veterans, who served and sacrificed to preserve our freedoms, lessen tyranny & oppression all over the world, and provide hope to millions.
We at America First Credit Union recently had the opportunity & privilege to support and take part in an effort that benefits World War II veterans. The Honor Flight Network is a non-profit organization created solely to recognize veterans for their immeasurable contributions. The network’s mission statement, in part, reads: To transport America’s Veterans to Washington, D.C. to visit those memorials dedicated to honor the service and sacrifices of themselves and their friends. To quote from their web site, Top priority is given to the senior veterans–World War II survivors, along with those other veterans who may be terminally ill.
Of all the conflicts in recent memory, it was the Second World War that truly threatened our very existence as a nation—and as a culturally diverse, free society. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, an estimated 640 veterans of WWII die each day, meaning the time to share our gratitude with these brave men and women is running out.
This year, 26 veterans participated in the Honor Flight. I had the privilege of writing a letter on behalf of America First and from me personally that expressed appreciation for their service. This correspondence was included in a “mail call” the veterans enjoyed on their way home from Washington. Tears came to my eyes when I received and read the following note from one such hero:
I have just returned from one of the most memorable experiences in my life, an Honor Flight…This trip to Washington, D.C. included seeing the WWII Memorial, The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and the Lincoln Memorial. Also, it was a very moving experience to visit Arlington National Cemetery. Although there were many enjoyable things that happened during this trip, one surprise stands out: MAIL CALL! Yes, mail call, just like we had during the war, with welcomed letters from home. One letter I received with great enjoyment was from you. I can’t tell you how much this meant to me, that you would take the time to send this note of appreciation for my service. Thank you so much! With Warm Regards,
Sgt. Charles “Fritz” Dolehi, U.S. Army Air Corps
Throughout the year, but perhaps most importantly during the holiday season, I hope we can all take the opportunity to give our veterans a cherished mail-call experience and thank them for their service. I and our entire team thank you for your membership in America First. We look forward to a lifelong relationship with you and your family.