On Saturday, Oct. 30, a large crowd gathered at Rhode Island T.F. Green International Airport in the early morning hours. We were not there to catch flights to locations across the country or to pick up loved ones from overnight travels. Instead, we were all there to show our thanks and appreciation for a small portion of our population who have literally made our way of life possible — our dear veterans.

Honor Flight Zulu brought 65 veterans of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War to Washington, D.C., to visit the memorials erected in their honor and memory. For most who make the trip, they have never been to the monuments in our nation’s capital dedicated to their sacrifices and bravery, and it is an extremely moving experience for all involved.

George Farrell and the Rhode Island Fire Chiefs Association deserve our thanks for organizing the Honor Flights and making sure that our veterans receive the gratitude and recognition that they so thoroughly deserve.

As Veterans Day approaches, I hope everyone takes the time to honor and value the sacrifices our veterans have made to establish and protect our way of life.

This was my first Honor Flight send-off and I know that it will not be my last. The outpouring of support, appreciation and gratitude I witnessed as the veterans were escorted to the flight gate was a truly heartwarming experience. I urge everyone to take part in these important events that demonstrate to our veterans how much they and their sacrifices mean to us all.

Without our veterans, the world would look very different than it does today. To our veterans on Honor Flight Zulu and all others living in Rhode Island and abroad, thank you for your service!

The writer, a Democrat, represents District 31 in North Kingstown and Exeter.

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