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Volleyball Takes a Day Off to Honor Veterans

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GW Volleyball at Honor Flight Photo Gallery

After last Friday's win over Duquesne, head volleyball coach Amanda Ault informed her team that Saturday would not be a typical practice day.  Instead, Ault showed the team a video hinting at what the next day would entail.


Honor Flight Network (HFN) is an organization determined to help every American war veteran visit the memorials that were created in their honor in Washington, D.C.  HFN's first priority is World War II veterans, and the group works with donors and airlines to arrange visits to our nation's capital at no cost to the veterans.  According to HFN's website, 81,000 veterans of WWII, Korea, and Vietnam have visited their war memorials as a result of HFN's efforts.


When Ault caught wind of a HFN WWII group scheduled to visit the District on Saturday, she knew her team would want to be there.  


"We live in this amazing city and opportunities like this are what it's all about.  With us not having a Saturday match it was perfect timing!" said Coach Ault.


The video shown to our Colonials described HFN's mission and shared how grateful the veterans were to have the chance to see the memorials that honored so many friends lost in battle.  The student-athletes were overcome with emotion after the viewing and were eager to meet the veterans the following morning.


At 8:45 a.m. on Saturday, the volleyball team greeted the veterans of HFN flights from San Diego and Nevada with applause as they emerged from five large tour buses and viewed the WWII memorial for the first time.  Many of the student-athletes became emotional once again as they heard the veterans recount their memories from long ago.  The Colonials entered the memorial with the veterans and witnessed how powerful the experience was for our retired warriors. The many appreciative thanks issued by the veterans conveyed the impact of the presence of our young student-athletes.


"As a coach, those moments when you get to watch your players impact the lives of others, that's what it's all about," said Coach Ault, "That is a memory I'll keep with me forever.  I'm proud of our team and the way they represented George Washington volleyball."


The morning at the memorial left the Colonials with a deeper appreciation for our nation's capital and the sacrifices made by the visiting veterans. 


"Having the opportunity to pay tribute to the World War II veterans through the Honor Flight Network has topped the list of the most memorable experience I have yet to have here in DC." said sophomore Landon Garvik. "That moment that I realized I was standing at the WWII memorial surrounded by the veterans who were being honored by that very setting in Washington, D.C. was an incredible feeling to say the least. I felt so grateful toward those men and women as I watched them remember their time of service and even heard stories about their extraordinary courage. GW volleyball was so excited to be a part of showing the Veterans that their efforts are not forgotten. I know for a few of the girls, myself included, this experience ignited a lot of pride within ourselves as we remembered our grandparents who also served along with those who were participating in the Honor Flight that day. This was a life-changing event for our entire team, and I know that each and every GW volleyball player and coach fully enjoyed spending time with people who risked their lives for our entire country. Never has going to school in Washington, D.C. meant more to me than on that morning. GW volleyball is more proud to be American than ever before. Even Maggie, from Norway, found an American bone in her body that morning, and we all continue to find the importance of giving thanks to the Veterans and heroes of all kinds!"

VB Honor Flight.JPG

Click Here for more photos from volleyball's Honor Flight visit

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