ARLINGTON, Va. – Bailey Coach of York, Pa., sponsored its second annual trip to the Arlington National Cemetery for veterans, and this year it was nearly twice as big as last year.
Photo by David F. Brown
Bailey hosted more than 635 veterans, their friends and family on this year’s trip on November 8, up from 400 last year.
John Bailey, owner of the company, modeled the bus trip after the Honor Flight program where airlines donate airfare for veterans to visit Washington, D.C.
A total of 12 buses made this year’s trip, eight donated by Bailey Coach, two donated by Wolf Bus Lines and two donated by Executive Coach.
Six Gold Star Families were honored with a Gold Star Families wrap on their bus. Tickets to ride the tour vehicles at Arlington were donated by local Elks Clubs, American Legions, VFWs and Scott Wagner, a York businessman running for Pennsylvania governor.
Richard Olvitt is a Vietnam Marine Corps veteran whose first trip to Arlington Cemetery was two years ago. Although he has been to Arlington several times since then, he said he never turns down a chance to go and be “next to something that happened in my lifetime.”
“I can go back there time after time after time and never get tired of it, because it is such an amazing place,” Olvitt said.
He said he especially enjoys watching the timing and precision of the Changing of the Guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Vietnam veteran Robert Dill was also on the trip. He had always wanted to see President John F. Kennedy’s grave. Along with Kennedy, Arlington is the resting place for more than 400,000 active-duty service members, veterans and their families.
Nancy Staugh made the trip with her veteran husband, Robert Mauk, and her son, Ryan Staugh. She is very appreciative of the outreach Bailey does within the community.
“What he did for Hurricane Harvey relief was really wonderful,” Staugh said, referring to his trip to Houston with three buses full of bottled water and canned food.
A gathering of local schools, scout troops and individuals greeted the veterans as they returned to the York Expo Center after a full day of touring Arlington Cemetery.