I know that I am a bit late to report this, but I just found out about it. Apparently, so did my friends as they have been e-mailing me about it! For those of you who are not history buffs, the 150th anniversary of the Medal of Honor. Medal of Honor Day was 25 March and for this special celebration, American Airlines used thier “Flagship Liberty” aircraft – a 737 with a yellow-ribbon theme to fly in MoH recipients from around the country. I don’t know how many attended the ceremony, but Congress has granted less than 3,500 since its inception in 1863. Only about a dozen were awarded in the last ten years of war compared with over 400 during the Vietnam conflict. Many recipients, such as Senator Daniel Inouye, are dying off and reducing the living awardee count quickly.
The Chairman and CEO of AA, Gerard Arpey said “To receive the Medal of Honor speaks volumes about the courage of these heroes, and sacrifices they have made for the freedoms we enjoy in this country. Equally important, they epitomize the concept of service above self. All of us at American Airlines express our deepest appreciation and gratitude to all Medal of Honor recipients who have achieved this distinction in defending our great nation.”
What I thought was really cool was that American’s Aadvantage program granted all of them Executive Platinum® membership, ConciergeKey status and Admirals Club memberships. The Concierge Key is appropriate as this is usually given to movie stars and CEOs. ConciergeKey is a day of departure meet-and-greet service available by invitation only. All around a really nice corporate gesture for these great Americans.
Note that over 60% of Americans pilots and over 10% of American’s overall workforce are veterans or are currently serving in the Reserves and National Guard. I’ll bet there was a fight amongst the pilots on who would get to fly this distinguished group to Washington, D.C.