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Greeting the Sept. 25 Honor Flight was good to do

October 3, 2010
By SANDY MICKELSON, Messenger staff writer

For pity sake, I keep forgetting to remind you that dolls and toys are still available at Wells Fargo Bank for the annual Dress-A-Doll/Design-A-Toy project.

This year I'm dressing a doll. I've made a plane before and fell so in love with it, I didn't want to give it up. I'm still wondering if the little boy who got it understands that the fingerprints left when they pried it out of my hand are not really a design element.

Anyway, if you haven't already done so, stop by the bank and pick up something to create, knowing it will make some youngster happy come Christmas. It's an important part of community, I think, to be part of these projects.

Just like it was important to the hundreds of people who went out to the airport on Sept. 25 to welcome home the World War II veterans who made the trip to Washington, D.C., on the third and final Brushy Creek Area Honor Flight of the year.

I had to be there, sure, to take pictures and report the story, but many of those folks who stood for more than an hour in 50-degree weather did so only because they thought it was the right thing to do.

And it was.

The morning's buzz of anticipation for going out was exciting enough, but that had nothing on the pride and emotion seeing them come home. I couldn't take pictures fast enough or talk to enough people for my satisfaction. I wanted to have everyone sign a paper with their names and phone numbers so I could find them again when I wanted.

There are a few times in everyone's life when something you see happening just sucks the breath right out of your lungs. That night was one of my times.

When the plane rolled to a stop and people cheered and waved small American flags, a bubble of emotion nearly choked me. And when I saw one of the men being pushed toward the crowd in a wheelchair with his arm outstretched to his family, I thought how sweet and shot the photo. So much was happening at the time, I didn't get his name, but when I looked at the pictures on the computer later, that bubble came back to push tears from my eyes.

There was a look on his face that said "I made it. I'm back. I love you," and his tired, crinkled fingers seemed to will his family to his side.

With this homecoming as meaningful as it was on a happy occasion like the Honor Flight, can you imagine how incredibly emotional it would have been during war years?

Feeling that, the next time you see a collection box for the Honor Flight - likely in May 2011 - drop some cash into it, knowing you'll be helping send veterans to Washington, D.C., to see the memorial built in their honor. You won't be doing this for them, you'll be doing it for yourself.

And if you don't believe me, just go out to the airport when that flight comes home and see for yourself.

But make sure you take a hankie.

Oh, one other thing. When we were putting the story that ran Monday on the page and getting pictures ready, I worked for hours to identify the couple whose picture became known to us in the newsroom as The Kiss. Finally, I found them, but because of a glitch in system, the identification came out wrong in the paper. So I apologize first to Richard and Barbara Fox, of Algona, whose kiss it wasn't, and to Marge and Allen Trelstad, of Emmetsburg, whose kiss it was.

That kiss will be forever in my memory.

So long friends, until the next time when we're together.

Contact Sandy Mickelson at (515) 573-2141 or



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