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  • Writer's pictureDianne Hammontree






They’re nearly all gone now, the generation we call “THE GREATEST.” I always admired and was thankful for the men and women who served to protect our country. Both my parents were in the military during WW11:  Dad in the Navy and Mom in the Marines. I wish there would have been an Honor Bus during their lifetime to take my parents to Washington D.C., so they could have had time with other veterans, comparing stories and rejoicing in our country.


Speaking of the Honor Bus, I always attend the “sendoff” since my husband is a volunteer entertainer for the participants. As the driver was loading up the veterans, one chilly morning in November, I noticed an older gentleman standing off to the side while letting everyone for his story.


 Sam grew up on a farm during the depression with seven brothers and sisters and his widowed mom. He said he didn’t do much for the war, not like his three brothers did who were all tail gunners. He told me that when they arrived in D.C. the group would visit all the memorials and watch the changing of the guard. They would see the WW11 memorial and talk about the service men who had fought and died together. Sam finally boarded the bus, and they departed at 6:30 a.m. on Friday, and arrived back home Sunday at 9:30 p.m.


Back in Ashland, a large group of friends waved flags and welcomed home the veterans. Sam was the last off the bus, so I asked my new friend, “How are you doing after all that walking?”


He replied, “I’m a little tired. Nothing a couple extra naps can’t cure.” 


Then I asked, “please consider telling your stories to all ages of school kids, especially on Veteran’s Day. Talk about your service. It’s important for folks to remember that our freedom was and is not free!”


Thank you for your service.

Thank you for the Honor Bus.

Thank you to the Greatest Generation.

Thank you Service Dog United.

Thank you for Veteran’s Day at the Ashland County Airport on August 10, 2024 beginning at 11:00 a.m.



Dianne Hammontree, secretary of Homeward Bound, Inc.


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