Here at JE, we passionately believe that we can change the world for Christ one traveler at a time! Each travel experience is incredibly unique, as is each traveler, and we share these unique travel stories through our JE Stories initiative. As you read these stories, be encouraged reading how God is using each story for His greater glory!
For this month’s JE Story, one of our DC Guide Julie Adkins recounts how a random encounter ended up being the highlight of a recent Washington DC trip.
“It was an idyllic fall day in Washington, DC – great weather, no crowds or traffic, and we didn’t have to rush. Just perfect. Our group was finishing up visits to various Smithsonian Museums before we walked over to the World War II Memorial. No one was there but our group (that never happens!). I sat the group down, explained the different aspects of the Memorial to them, and told them about an organization called Honor Flight. Honor Flight brings Veterans from all over America who fought in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam to Washington, DC for a few days to visit the memorials dedicated to honor their wars. Through Honor Flight, all Veterans travel for free. As I was explaining the Honor Flight program, I heard sirens (not unusual in DC), looked up and saw a motorcycle policeman escorting 3 coach buses. This was an Honor Flight group of Veterans arriving at the memorial! Perfect timing.
I sent the students off to explore for a few minutes then had them line up to welcome these Veterans as they came into the Memorial. (At this point, it’s still pretty much just us at the memorial). As these Veterans were wheeled in or walked on their own, their eyes lit up as this line of 8th-grade students clapped for them, hugged them, shook their hands and thanked them for their service. There were tears on the faces of both the young and the old. It was very touching. Many of the Veterans said to the students “We went to war so you wouldn’t have to.” That really got to some of the students. It was great to see the conversations flow freely as the students met these real-life heroes who fought in these wars. This is something you can’t teach in a classroom and it is something those students will never forget.”
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