As the year ended, there were newspaper, TV and social media stories about the best and worst of 2015. This article will do a ‘look back review’ and spark you to a Happy 2016.
On Friday mornings, come to the Gateway Diner in Albany for TGIV — “Thank God Its Veterans.” Meet a cross section of our World War II, Korean and Vietnam War veterans and other military people. They gather to meet, mix and mingle, and it is a BYO – “Buy Your Own.” Strangers become fast friends. The breakfast starts at 8 a.m. and goes to 11:30 a.m.
In 2015, we had special events like “Meet the Vietnam Veterans” and “Military Women.” Two women of WW II, Lillian Yolanni flew planes and Ruth Neesen trained pilots. A Vietnam Marine vet named Dave Vacca became a great public speaker in a short four months.
In November, we held “Meet the 95-year-old Veterans of WW II.” Charlie Kapner, Evan Lagrave, Arnold Townsend, Bill Leunig and Victor Smimo were our honored guests.
In August, a trip with WW II vet Alan Atwell, Korean War vet Frank Nati, photographer Lois Dysard and I made a three-day trip to Conneaut, Ohio, for a D-Day Normandy Invasion Reenactment. It was the 17th year of the event, which attracts 30,000 people, 1,700 reenactors to this small town. At TGIV in November, we showed photos of the D-Day Reenactment on Lake Erie and our three 2015 Patriot Flight trips.
Veterans Joe Savoie, Frank Nati, Bruce Barnes and I took a day trip to Newburgh to the Purple Heart Hall of Honor Museum. We shared a beautiful autumn day, and we verified Nati’s profile as a Purple Heart recipient.
A great husband and wife combo — Jim and Marie Busher — entered the Patriot Flight family. Jim, a Korean War veteran and Commander of the Northeast Korean War Veterans Association, is looking for “more than a few good men of the Korean War.” We want them for his association and for our Patriot Flights in 2016.
The Korea War was known as “The Forgotten War,” and Marie and I have entitled them the “the Unforgotten Generation.”
On Dec. 16, we had about 10 of the TGIV veterans attend the Battle of the Bulge Association luncheon.
Patriot Flight had a special flight in September for Vietnam vets only, in addition to a spring and fall flight of 101 passengers. The send off ceremonies are an event unto themselves. Try getting up early on a Saturday and see one. We hope to have another special theme flight in May for women veterans of Vietnam, Korea and WW II. Spread the word and help us find these women. Sorry guys for this flight, unless the veterans bring their own male friends, hubby, children or grandchildren.
Patriot Flight thanks the Blue Star Mothers, Veteran Miracle Center and the Colonie Elks #2192 for the first Patriot Flight D-Day Revisited Christmas Party fundraiser. Deepest thanks to the veterans, families and friends who attended. See photos on Patriot Flight and Lois Dysard’s Facebook page, or on patriotflight.org.
Meet new people, share a new venture and have a Happy New Year.
My email is [email protected], and the website is patriotflight.org,