For 15 years, the Hannah Cole Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, along with the Boonville School District, have sponsored the Veterans Day celebrations – bringing veterans from all walks of life to celebrate the freedom they all sacrificed dearly for. On Friday, this celebration continued along with students from Boonville High School and Hannah Cole Primary.
This year, Steve Paulsell, of Columbia, was the guest speaker. While many speakers talk about war experience, Paulsell discussed a project that is close to his heart, the Central Missouri Honor Flight. As director, he has seen the program grow from an infant stage, to now just completing its 50th flight.
Instead of talking about the organization itself, he wanted to touch on the experiences shared by veterans and some of the most impactful times he had ever had on the flight.
“We know the goal of the honor flight – to send veterans to Washington D.C. to see their war memorials, but it is much more than that,” Paulsell said.
While he talked about several stories that occurred on the flight he could not help but remember such a touching story that he will never forget.
During one flight, there was a veteran who told a story of losing a friend at war and after that event, he and another veteran cut a dollar bill in two and vowed they both would carry that bill with them as long as they lived. After the war, they both went their ways. But it was during one honor flight that they both found out they were on the same flight and each had their respective parts of the dollar bill. They both came together and at the Vietnam Memorial Wall to honor their fallen friend.
It is these stories that Paulsell remembers most including ones where these veterans get thanked by residents of Vietnam or Korea for help saving their families.