I grew up in the country on the top of a steep hill with a gravel driveway. It was not exactly a place to walk for the faint of heart.
In the summer, we had snakes during the day and scary sounding animals at night. So, the only way I got from one place to another was on a four-wheeler… Huffy bikes just don’t get the job done on the gravel.
When I moved to town after I was married, I quickly discovered the neighborhood walk and how our Owensboro streets are conducive to a stroll. The walks have become a precious part of my day… every day. Whether I manage to go before work (maybe 2 times ever!) or I get home after dark, I get out for a least a bit.
The physical piece is important for me. It is good to clear my mind or to get to visit with a walking buddy. Ask anyone in my family, walking makes me much nicer!
My walks over the past 16 years in my neighborhood have become something much more important, though, than the exercise. It has given me the opportunity to connect with my neighbors along my route. And how much richer has my life been because of I have gotten to know these people, their families and their dogs!
One of those neighbors is Henry Weider who I will only refer to as Mr. Weider because he is my elder in every way — especially in wisdom. Mr. Weider is in his 90’s and gets out every day. Through the years, we have watched his grandchildren and great-grandchildren grow as we walked by their backyard get togethers. He makes the best spicy mustard. And, he always has something good to say. On days when I walk by and I do not get to see him, I always say out loud “Attitude is everything.” He embodies optimism and kindness.
Last week, when we greeted each other he had particularly good news. Mr. Weider will be going to Washington DC with 8 other Owensboro World War II vets on an Honor Flight to visit the World War II Memorial among other stops. He will represent us well as he truly embodies the best of Owensboro’s character. The send-off will be tomorrow at the SportsCenter. The community is encouraged to attend and/or to participate in the parade and the welcome home reception Thursday.
Honor Flight Send-offs and Homecomings give us the opportunity to come together and celebrate the best of humanity. We remember how quickly time slips away as you see the men before you and recall the teenagers and twentysomethings they were when they traveled the world to keep us free. It is a remembrance of the sacrifices of so many families that we celebrated last week on Memorial Day and of the scars that the survivors brought back and lived with daily. It is a reminder that courage is the stuff of every day people. And it is a reminder that in the end, good always prevails.
HONOR FLIGHT DETAILS
Monday — Sportscenter
12:00 p.m. – 12:30 p.m. Gathering
12:30 p.m.– 1:00 p.m. Brief Ceremony
1:00 p.m. Heroes Send-off
Thursday – Armory – 3300 Tamarack
Parade route with police escort from 60 East at Glenmore to Frederica to Tamarack
Approximately 11:30 a.m.– Welcome Home Reception
By Candance Brake, President and CEO of the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce