Heartland Hospice serving Chicagoland South hosted an Honor Flight – One Last Mission movie event for the community at Marcus Theater in Orland Park, IL to honor local veterans and create awareness of the We Honor Veterans program as well as the Honor Flight initiative.
Honor Flight is a heartwarming documentary about how a Midwest community came together to give four World War II veterans the trip of a lifetime. Volunteers race against the clock to fly these veterans to Washington, DC to see the memorial constructed for them in 2004, nearly 60 years after their epic struggle. Many veterans say, with the exception of their wedding day and the birth of their children, the trip is the best day of their life.
Lead by Volunteer Coordinator, Belinda O’Brien, the Heartland team worked to organize and promote the event to have the mandatory presale of 67 tickets. They even invited Mayor of Mokena, Frank Fleischer and his wife, Laurie, both of whom attended. On the night of the event with 81 community members in attendance, Boy Scout Troop 318 of Tinley Park presented the flag ceremony and lead the Pledge of Allegiance.
Cathy McBride, Heartland Administrator, welcomed all and talked about Heartland Hospice’s partnership with the We Honor Veterans program. She also read a poem about freedom. “We asked all of the veterans in attendance to come to the front for a pinning ceremony to thank them publicly for their service and the sacrifices they made for our country and fellow Americans,” explained Cathy. “We also had staff in the audience pin any veterans who could not walk up to the stage,” she added.
As everyone watched the movie, there were many tears in the audience, fortunately Heartland handed out tissues before the movie. At the end of the evening, the boy scouts retired the flags.
“I have to say the best part of this event was hearing the stories from the veterans who were open to sharing,” commented Belinda. “I overheard a veteran talking to his grandson about being in Vietnam when he was a young man and all the friends he made and the many he lost. It was very touching!”