Every guardian who accompanies a military veteran on Franklin County Honor Flights to Washington, D.C., to view war memorials is doing a great service to those who served our country. But now that Junior ROTC cadets from Franklin County are doing it, well, that is special for the veterans and cadets.

The cadets are well versed in the military way in that they are very respectful of veterans, well disciplined, polite, caring and capable.

In a feature story in last week’s Wednesday Missourian, written by Karen Cernich, features editor, the Americanism spirit of the cadets was captured in words and photos.

The feature’s theme was indicated in the words of Ryan Sawicki, Clover Bottom, a Washington Naval JROTC cadet, who said: “I wanted to go to just to pay back to the veterans who never really got that welcome home” when they returned from military duty. That was especially true of the Korean War and Vietnam War veterans. It also was true for many World War II veterans who were so great in numbers and spread out over a couple of years that most never received much in the way of “welcome home” except from family members and friends.

For many of the veterans, the Honor Flight is a thrill of a lifetime. Many would never have had the opportunity to see the war memorials if it were not for Honor Flight.

The guardians assist the veterans on the trips — take care of any needs that arise, including pushing a wheelchair. The cadets are compassionate and make excellent guardians. It’s an experience that they never will forget.

All of the Honor Flight guardians are special people because of their compassion for veterans. We know one lady whose father was a veteran, who had passed on, and she made the trip as a guardian as a tribute to her father. Guardians pay their own way.

We don’t know of a better way to say “thanks for your service” to a veteran than to be a Honor Flight guardian.

For more information on Franklin County Honor Flight visit www.fchonorflight.org.