I just cannot put in to words what kind of day it was yesterday. I was just amazed what time, effort and money that was spent on these 8 boys. We started at 7:45 and had breakfast in the place where all the pilots "hang-out" and met with 3 pilots. The boys then went in and put on their flight suits (that they got to keep) with the exact same kind of badges that the pilots have and a helmet bag that the pilots carry their own helmets in. They were given a pilot's coin, that represents the squadron they are on. Seems like they cannot be caught without this coin and have regular "coin-checks" where they are rewarded with a drink of their choice.
On to the equipment room where we were shown what the gear looked like and how it is worn. Very interesting! We then loaded on a bus where we were taken to a building where the boys were able to go in and actually fly in an F-16 flight simulator! They were able to stay on it for about 20 minutes or so. Marcus bombed a few ships, took a dive into the water, but somehow came out ok.
We then loaded on the bus again and went to the hangers where they service the F-16's. There they were able to walk around the plane, touch it and then actually able to sit, yes SIT in the cockpit and have their picture taken professionally. I have never seen so many smiles on kids faces before, especially Marcus.
After "hangin' out" (hahaha) with the planes, we went back to the squadron's hang out and had some lunch. It was so nice to meet other people who have gone through similar circumstances. There were 2 other teens there with Marcus, one of which has a brain tumor as well. It was nice because Marcus was able to talk to someone who has similar interests, and been through so much stuff like him. They changed emails, so hopefully they can keep in touch.
After lunch we went out to the airfield where we were able to sit on bleachers and watch an air-show of an F-16. It really is amazing the things those pilots can do and handle physically. The pilot and aircrew of the show came over and talked to the boys and signed some pictures for them as well. They took pictures with them and were able to ask all kinds of questions. The press was there and the boys and parents interviewed with them.
He then was pinned with his wings and was given a plaque with a certificate printed on a full-size picture of him in the F-16! WOW... is all I can say!
It touches my heart that these brave men and women who risk their lives everyday for us, would do so much for my son and these other children. There really are some good people in the world. Thanks to Make-a-wish and other people who donate their time, these children will have some GREAT memories that will hopefully erase some of the bad ones they have.