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Phoenix Employees Celebrate “Military Heroes Month” in a Big Way

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Pictures are worth a thousand words and the following photographs say it all!  Last Tuesday, the Southwest Employees in Phoenix gave a great send off to veterans of Operation Freedom Bird on their way to recognize Veterans Day at the Capitol.  Little did the Vietnam veterans know that a celebration was being planned for them when they returned.



We put together a Welcome Home Ceremony for the returning veterans and invited friends and family along with past beneficiaries of the trip.  When the aircraft arrived back in PHX, it was met with a water cannon salute from the Fire Department at Sky Harbor International.  Once back inside, the veterans of the 2010 Operation Freedom Bird arrived home to cheers, hugs, and kisses from their loved ones.

With about 350 in attendance, the event kicked off with the Presentation of the Colors by Luke Air Force Base Honor Guard.

The highlight of the celebration for many was country recording artist Aaron Tippin who sang “Where the Stars and Stripes and the Eagle Fly” as well as his hit “You’ve Got to Stand for Something.”

This was the 12th year Southwest Airlines has sponsored the Operation Freedom Bird trip for the Vietnam veterans who, for the first time this year, took along an Afghanistan and Iraq veteran. “I feel this was the best Operation Freedom Bird yet,” said Tim Magary, Southwest Lead Plant Maintenance Mechanic. “What was said, sung, and played this year, was so heartfelt that it made me proud to be a part of it. “ For more information on Operation Freedom Bird visit http://www.operationfreedombird.org/.

 

13 Comments
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A big thanks to the veterans. I really appreciate all that Southwest did for them and their families. I LOVE SWA!
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GREAT JOB, SOUTHWEST!!..THNX 4 YOUR RECOGNITION OF OUR REAL HEROES!!
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Thank you Veterans, and thank you Southwest!!! What a "class act"!!!!!
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Great job Southwest!!! Truly a Class corporation...and thank you again and again for our Great military for the Freedom they provide for this Great nation!!!! Eric
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This is awesome!! Way to go, Southwest!
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Makes me proud to be a "Southwest"erner, and even more proud an American.
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As someone who still remembers how most Vietnam vets were treated when they came home, I am glad that they are getting the respect they deserve! Cheers to those responsible for making that happen.
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Thank you southwest, I would not be here or alive if not for a Vietnam vet. I will not whine when they search my stuff , I'd rather they search me alive then search for me later.
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Thank you Southwest! You are a class ac
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How commendable! Makes me want to continue to support Southwest Airlines. Social responsibility is paramount in today's economic environment, and I commend those who take the lead. I know Jackie Thompson and am impressed that she is part of such a unique and forward thinking organization I am proud to call her my friend. Hats off to you Southwest! IR
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What a great tribute SWA has paid to our Veterans. Thank you SWA and Jackie Thompson.
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Two class acts, Operation Freedom Bird and Southwest Airlines working together to help and support our Veterans, Outstanding!
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Southwest Airlines, including volunteers, Pat Lynch, Ken Benckwitz and Operation Freedom Bird, how ever can we thank you enough for what you have done and continue to do for our Vietnam (and now Iraqi/Afghan) veterans? John went to the wall thanks to you all 3 years ago and it was an incredibly valuable trip to his emotional healing. Because of YOUR concern and efforts and our local VA and Vet Center he is facing many demons from combat which my father (WWII Pacific theater) had to fight his entire life. What you so generously offer these current vets is invaluable and from our hearts we thank you all. Is it any wonder I will ONLY fly Southwest?!!!