Boarding went remarkably well, and we left KAZO before 8am. Accompanying us was Erica Francis and cameraman Brett Dickie from FOX 2 Detroit, who were preparing an in-depth feature with plenty of interviews with the Rosies. We touched down at Dulles International about an hour later.
We met up with two more “Rosies” who were joining our tour group; one was from Maryland, and another from Pennsylvania. We were also joined by reporters from NBC who covered the story for the national news. Upon landing, we were greeted with an honor guard ceremony. Then we boarded a special Talons Out Honor Flight tour bus, decked out in Talons Out Honor Flight banners and décor that took us to the Capital.
At lunchtime, we were escorted across the street via an underground tunnel to a special meeting room with a sizeable u-shaped desk and raised seating areas. Our hosts at the luncheon were the two Michigan representatives in U.S. Congress, Debbie Dingell (D-MI) and Lisa McClain (R-MI). The Congresswomen graciously addressed the “Rosies” and thanked them for their sacrifices and hard work.
Back on the bus, we headed to the National Mall with a special stop at the World War II Memorial. I was glad that our group could visit when the famous cherry blossoms were blooming, and the weather was more akin to spring than winter. The next time we boarded the bus, we headed to Boeing for a presentation and a delicious dinner. It was our last stop before heading to the airport and boarding our charter aircraft for the flight home.
During COVID-19, Mae created Rosie the Riveter facemasks and scarves and shared them with workers at Boeing. At the dinner, Mae received her gift back from Boeing with a special revelation. Her facemask and scarf had traveled to the space station in Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft. Boeing also provided two challenge coins in a shadowbox for each “Rosie.” The challenge coins had also traveled on Boeing’s Starliner.