One Program Leader's Memorable Visit to the Iwo Jima Memorial

A trip to Washington, D.C., is always unforgettable for students, but for Program Leader Julia Dierks, one trip was especially memorable. In her own words, Julia shares a moving story about a visit to the Marine Corps War Memorial.

Iwo Jima Memorial Honor Flight

“We were at the Iwo Jima Memorial. I noticed a couple of buses pull up and men get out. I knew right away that this was an Honor Flight. I told my students that the men were World War II veterans. They lined the men up, many in wheelchairs, in front of the monument to take a picture. My students started at one end and began going down the line, shaking hands and saying, ‘Thank you for your service.’ I saw some hugs, too. The adults from my group, including me, joined in, as did others in the crowd.

“As we were waiting for the students to come together to move on to our next destination, I had girls run up to me, crying.  They said, ‘Mrs. Dierks, do you know what they told us? They said they did it for us! They did it for us! How could they say that?’”

Iwo Jima Memorial Honor Flight

I always tell my students that when they see or talk to someone who has served in the military they should tell them ‘Thank you.’  I never would have believed I would have experienced something like this.”

Learn more about our student educational travel programs to Washington, D.C.