A Journey of Honor and Reverence: Albemarle Volunteers Escort Veterans on an Unforgettable Journey

A Journey of Honor and Reverence: Albemarle Volunteers Escort Veterans on an Unforgettable Journey

Marine Memorial in Washington, DC

The Veterans Connect Group's mission was simple: to accompany military veterans on the Queen City Honor Flight - a pilgrimage to Washington, D.C., where monuments and memorials testify to their bravery and sacrifice. And so, on a rainy morning in Charlotte, North Carolina, a group of Albemarle employees and other compassionate souls embarked on a poignant journey to honor these heroes. We were entrusted with this sacred duty - to be their steadfast companions and guardians, to share in their memories, and to pay homage to their unwavering courage.

The heaviness in the air was palpable, especially as we witnessed the changing of the guard at Arlington Cemetery. At the Korean War Memorial, tears flowed freely, and unspoken pain, empathically shared during an oral tribute that honored veterans of that often-forgotten conflict.

Perhaps the most impactful moment came at the World War II Memorial. We honored the sole surviving member of that era from the Queen City Honor Flight. He stood among us, a living testament to the greatest generation's sacrifice. His shoulders bear the weight of memories now shared by only himself.

The juxtaposition of his solitary presence against the backdrop of a once vibrant group was a stark reminder of the immutable passage of time.

Yet, in shared sorrow, laughter rang out. Jokes about octogenarians moving as spryly as 20-year-olds and playful remarks about morning coffee missing a splash of “liquid fortitude” elicited uproarious laughter. These moments of levity served as a reminder of the enduring bonds forged in the crucible of military service.

For the guardians, those who volunteered to escort, it was a rare and priceless experience. They gained a deeper understanding of the sacrifices these heroes made. Also, humbled by their unwavering courage and dedication to duty, honor, and country.

As we reflect on this unforgettable day, we are reminded of the profound impact that such events have on our understanding of the veterans within our Albemarle family. It is a testament to the bravery, resilience, and camaraderie that defines our unique community. To honor and support their sacrifices and triumphs, we encourage all Albemarle employees, both veterans and non-veterans alike to join our Employee Resource Group.


Watch a 12-minute cinematic recap of the Queen City Honor Flight: