Posted by Art Malcom
Here’s a riddle: What program, conceived and inaugurated in 2009, turned 40 this year? The answer: Old Glory Honor Flight. That’s right, this program, which offers WWII, Korean War and Viet Nam veterans a memorable, safe and rewarding tour of our nation’s capital and the monuments erected in their honor, flew its 40th mission on June 7, and arrived back at the Appleton International Airport to a tumultuous welcome home!
And here’s another riddle: What has 36 legs and spent 39 total member-hours maintaining spectator assistance (crowd control) for the estimated 1,200-1,500 onlookers, and shuttling wheelchairs for the 87 veterans on this historic mission? The answer: 18 members and guests of the Appleton-Fox Cities Kiwanis Club.
The association with Kiwanis goes back several years, as the Board of Directors of Old Glory Honor Flight realized they needed assistance in maintaining order with crowds of spectators that swelled almost immediately to several hundred men, women and children. The fact that so many children attend these “homecomings” makes them a natural fit for Kiwanis. It presents us with one more opportunity to live up to our dedication to “changing the world, one child and one community at a time.”  Whether it involves something as simple as giving directions to the restroom or as profound as reminding young ones their flags should not touch the floor, members of the Appleton-Fox Cities Kiwanis Club are always ready to help, and — as is the case with any service project — to have fun at the same time!
Patriotism can be defined as “love and support of one’s country,” and that love and support was certainly evident at the Appleton International Airport as 2 WWII vets, 25 Korean War vets and 60 Vietnam vets — as well as 42 vets from Operations Desert Storm, Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) and Iraqi Freedom, who had served as guardians — were given a heartfelt welcome home by the throngs of spectators, which included sons, daughters, grandchildren and even great-grandchildren.
However, patriotism is not innate. It has to be taught; and one of the best teaching methods is demonstration. By maintaining order and control of the large crowds that show up for the Old Glory Honor Flights, the Appleton-Fox Cities Kiwanis help to demonstrate the high level of love and support due these men and women who have served faithfully in our nation’s armed forces.
The Appleton-Fox Cities Kiwanis are honored to provide this service to our veterans and our community.