Nathan Snizik - Grade 7, Incarnation Catholic School
2 A.M. Wake-Up Call
It all started with an email from my Boy Scout troop. They said that they needed help welcoming veterans back from an “honor flight”. I quickly looked up what an honor flight was, and I found out that it was a one-day trip for war veterans to visit their war memorials in Washington D. C. Our task was to give them the hero’s welcome home they might never have received.
I decided to go, and I absolutely loved it! I loved seeing how joyful it made the veterans to see us. We were saluting them, and they were saluting us back. I enjoyed welcoming them home, but after going six times that year, I wondered if there was anything else I could do.
As I was checking the schedule for the upcoming year of honor flights, I found out that there were other ways to volunteer. They needed volunteers in the morning to assist with sending the veterans off. I then signed up for “hospitality”, but I didn’t know what it was.
It was difficult and exhausting to get up at two o’clock in the morning, but afterwards I knew it was worth it. Instead of getting lost in the crowd greeting the veterans when they came home, I had the opportunity to meet each veteran one-on-one. I helped to prepare breakfast, which I then served to each one of them.
When I was serving breakfast to each one of them, I could see that they were excited, but nervous for their full day. I helped to take their mind off that. They asked me how old I was, and they thanked me for being there. They quickly forgot that I was there to thank them for their service.
When I was done serving breakfast and visiting with them, I was first in line in front of the jetway to help send them on their way. I saluted them, shook their hands, and told them to enjoy their special day. They saluted me back, shook my hand, thanked me, and asked me to take pictures of them and their fellow veterans. I am always the last one there.
I’ve done the morning sendoff twice, and I immediately signed up to do the third. Why? I like seeing their happiness and excitement, but also knowing that I can help make their nervousness go away. Once I’m old enough I hope to be a guardian, so I can spend their special day with them, and share in their excitement during their once in a lifetime trip.
Until then, I’ll keep forcing my grumpy, tired self to get up at 2 A.M. I know that when I see their excited faces, and when they see mine, we are ready to tackle the day together.