HONOR FLIGHTS THANK VETERANS

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America’s veterans have earned the respect of a grateful nation. Those men and women who are alive today after fighting in World War II, Vietnam, and Korea deserve to be honored. Honor Flights are a great way to do just that.

HONOR FLIGHTS PROVE TO VETS THAT WE STILL CARE

The men and women who fought in World War II are now in their late 80s and 90s. The US Department of Veterans Affairs statistics says that only 496,777 of the 16 million Americans who served in World War II were living in 2018. Honor Flights prove to these special people that we still care about them.

On Memorial Day and Every Day

96-year-old Floridian served in the Navy during WWII
96-year-old Floridian served in the Navy during WWII

Fort Lauderdale sports bar Bokamper’s hosted a Memorial Day extravaganza this year, and Honor Flight of South Florida invited a group of elderly veterans. Some now in their 90’s, they were honored during the event for having fought in WWII, Vietnam and Korea.

Leading the group was Chairman Rick Asper. “Our mission is to honor these heroes from so long ago,” says Asper of the 15-year-old organization. “They gave so much to their country at that time.”

Asper addressed the standing-room-only crowd at Bokampers. Noting that all proceeds from the event will go towards Honor Flight South Florida, he said, “Today is a day we’re recognizing those who gave everything for their country, and it’s fitting that we have this group of World War II, Korean and Vietnam veterans here to express themselves about how much it  means for them to go on an Honor Flight.”

Bokampers always celebrates veterans
Veterans always welcome at Bokampers in Ft. Lauderdale.

Patriotism Celebrated Here

The Bokampers event was spearheaded by manager Mike Enrinques, a former Marine. During the ceremony, restauranteur and former Miami Dolphin player Kim Bokamper gave a heartfelt speech. He eloquently reminded everyone of the sacrifices some Americans make in order to keep the rest of us living in a free country.

Never Forget the Fallen Heroes

Fallen Hero
In honor of Sgt. Thomas Bohall

Gold Star father Tim Bohall lost his son, Sgt. Thomas Andrew Bohall, when he was killed in Afghanistan on May 26, 2011. He was only 25 years old.

His words aimed at every Millennial in the bar, the still-grieving father honored his heroic son with a speech about sticking to your commitments.

“Sure, you can take the easy way out and quit. You’ll feel better for a day or two,” Bohall recalled telling his son when he wanted to quit the soccer team in high school. “But if you stop now, the only lessons you will take from this experience will be that it’s ok to quit when things get tough, that you don’t have to deliver on your commitments, and that choosing to fail is an acceptable decision. But if you stick it out, I guarantee that you’ll be glad you did.” 

Thomas never started a game or scored a goal, but he ended up being celebrated as the year’s MVP.

“Instead of providing value with his athletic skills, Thomas had willed himself to deliver intangibles to his team. And these intangibles held far more value than any athletic achievements,” Bohall explained. “Thomas’ never-quit attitude, combined with his desire to contribute to the team, made him an inspirational and motivating force for the other players.”

In Memory of Sgt. Thomas Bohall

Sgt. Bohall served three tours of duty in combat conditions in Iraq and Afghanistan, earning 4 service stripes as a member of the Pathfinders team, 101st Aviation Regiment, 158th Combat Aviation Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). He was killed in action along with 9 additional members of his unit in Afghanistan, while conducting a mission to destroy an IED manufacturing facility.

Sgt. Bohall was one of 118 local troops who were killed while serving in military operations supporting the global war on terrorism since Sept. 11, 2001. Their names are inscribed on Miami International Airport’s Wall of Honor, which was erected in 2016 to pay lasting tribute to South Florida’s fallen heroes.

Do You Known an Aging Veteran?

WWII era veterans
WWII era veterans and others were honored guests at Bokampers on Memorial Day.

“We fly veterans from South Florida to our nation’s capitol to provide what we hope will be one of the best days of their lives,” explains Asper.

A nonprofit charity, Honor Flights depend on donations and volunteers. The organization charters a large airliner four to five times a year, which takes veterans to Washington DC.

“We need to keep honoring these amazing people who did so much for us fifty to seventy-five years ago,” says Asper.

Tell Everyone!

Do you have an uncle, an aunt, a brother or know someone who served either in Vietnam, Korea or World War II?

Please tell them about this incredible opportunity to taken an Honor Flight.

“They will spend a day being honored and respected and shown the appreciation of a grateful nation,” says Asper. “Please nominate a veteran today.”

©️Jill Cueni-Cohen