Veterans Day 2015

As we take a moment on November 11th to honor our Veterans, let us not forget the role of the airport in supporting our county and troops for over 100 years. It can be the place for the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. On a daily basis we see parents sending their children off to basic training, we watch the new recruits fall in line with their oversized backpacks and the manila folders. Some are confident and walk with a spring in their step, others are leery, and you can tell this is their first time flying and probably their first time away from home. We hope our smiling faces bring them a little comfort as they take their next step in life.

Other days we see moments of complete joy and relief when a loved one returns home from training, deployment, etc. The anxious family member paces around the star mosaic, constantly watching flight information boards, and that moment of complete joy when they see their loved one round the corner of the exit lane. These are the moments that help us keep going.

And then we have the moment like last week, the moment when we welcomed home our brother in a flag draped coffin because he paid the ultimate price for our freedom. Cpl. Martin King was returned home last Saturday after he went missing 65 years ago, as a 17 year old solider. Cpl. King was a prisoner of war in Korea and starved to death in a prison camp at the age of 18. His remains were returned to the United States in a heap with other POW’s and took years to identify. Where the story gets even more moving is the fact that Cpl. King was the youngest of 14 children, born in Tower City, PA, and given away by his family because they couldn’t care for him. He enlisted at the age of 17, deployed, and never heard from again. The family that stepped foot on HIA’s tarmac on Saturday didn’t even know he ever existed. But the fact that we could bring them all together again was very powerful. The story of this young man has now been told by countless news outlets, our pictures have reached more than a quarter-million people on Facebook, and a family has been reunited after 65 years.

King

Our daily efforts go unnoticed much of the time, but never forget that all you do matters in making HIA an Altogether Better place.