Sunday, July 3, 2016

4th of July Tribute

4th of July marks a day set aside to celebrate our country's independence and freedom. It's also is a time to remember those who have given service to their country to preserve and protect our freedom. This is a tribute to my friend Suzanne's father.
Donald Molenaar, a veteran of World War II, always dreamed of visiting Washington, DC’s WW II Memorial. On April 16, 2016 at the age of 90 he got his wish. He was one of 87 veterans chosen to fly from the Twin Cities to Washington DC. The Twin Cities Chapter of the Honor Flight is a non-profit mostly volunteer organization created solely to honor America's World War II and Korean War veterans for all of their sacrifices. Honor Flight transports heroes at no cost to Washington, DC to visit and reflect at their memorials. Top priority is given to those veterans who have never been to the nation’s capital. Sun Country Airlines provides the plane and flight crew. 

The plane left Minneapolis early in the morning and returned late that evening. Upon arrival in DC, veterans were greeted by choral groups singing each military anthem. Wheelchairs were provided for most veterans as were all their meals. Every vet had a chaperone to help them with any of their needs. When the plane returned to Minneapolis, the vets were greeted some 500 people, including family members with balloons, bands, cadet salutes, Boy Scouts and many legion members who were bearing American flags. The Girls Scouts presented each vet with a box of cookies and Caribou Coffee provided a bag of their coffee.

Sadly, Donald passed away on May 20, 2016. He will be remembered as a husband, father of eight and a vet who near the end of the war was doing odd jobs for the army while waiting for his turn to be trained in Texas to become a pilot.

Donald enjoyed looking at the fountain and wreaths around the WW II Memorial with other veterans nearby. But what impressed him the most was, upon arriving home late at night all the people waiting for their return to Minnesota. He really then understood how grateful the world is for these guys! And he was touched by the three year old who stepped out from his parents to shake his hand. 


  1. Lovely tribute, Sue. How nice Donald got to make that trip before his passing on.