“We can’t all be heroes, because somebody has to sit on the curb and applaud
when they go by.” . . . Will Rogers
Every mission (the flight is one part of the mission) has a flight Send Off and a flight Homecoming.
The Send Off is early in the AM (normally about 1AM). Vets, Guardians and flight staff assemble for final details about the flight, fuel up on coffee and donuts and then board the buses for the trip to Orlando Airport. Send Off is more low key than Homecoming, but being there to send off our vets is important.
Homecoming is late in the PM of the same day. Hundreds of people from the community gather to welcome home our heroes. Activities start about two hours before the bus arrives with live entertainment, twillers, clowns and patriotic music. Local fire and police departments are on hand for water cannon salutes, and to block off traffic so the bus’s approach is not impeded. Local motorcycle groups along with local police normally escort the bus the last 5 to 10 miles.
Send Off and Homecoming provide one way to easily get involved (takes very little time) and to get a feeling for what happens.