I proudly hold a sign with my grandfather’s face on it. My family and I wait in anticipation for him to come off the airplane. We stand watching as other Korean War veterans pass by going to their families. Finally, we see Wendal Schmidt, my grandfather, and we immediately yell and cheer. My grandfather gives a slight smirk and I can see the emotion in his eyes. He has just came back from the Honor Flight, which takes veterans to see the memorials in Washington D.C.
“That was the best experience of my life,” he says as tears stream down his cheeks. That day, I was so honored to be there and support our veterans for everything they did. Being there showed me what it means to love your country and have patriotism. I felt like I had a new meaning of how important it is to be loyal and fight for what you believe in.
The Honor Flight gives back to the people who risked their lives to give us what we have today. Patriotism is respecting the accomplishments of the people who came before us, celebrating the soldiers that fought for our country, and being thankful for all they did.
Our veterans need to be thanked and recognized—even if they had a small role in helping our country. Even an acknowledgment from a stranger on the street is a patriotic act. Patriotism is about having loyalty, commitment, and love.
Being there to support my grandfather put a smile on his face and that will be a moment I will never forget. I think that each person should have a special moment with a veteran to truly understand how much they have done. Whether you have a family member that was a veteran or know a friend with one, a special moment can just come from shaking their hand. I hope to create more experiences and memories that honor veterans because to me that is what patriotism is all about.