This article is supplied and sponsored by Raytheon
November 3, 2014 6:00 AM
The tour bus goes quiet as the granite pillars and archways come into view along 17th Street in Washington. An announcement from the tour guide tells the old soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen what they already know: They’ve arrived at the National World War II Memorial.
They walk or wheel their way past a low-slung wall of 4,800 stars – each representing 100 American combat deaths – then begin to take in the rest: relief sculptures of wartime scenes, inscriptions bearing the names of the places they fought. That’s when the power of the place really sets in, tour guide Dominic Quihuis said.
“It takes them a few minutes to take all the sights in. They try to find the specific battles they were in, and most of the time they start crying or they just won’t say anything at all. They’ll just sit back and think and reflect,” said Quihuis, a volunteer for Honor Flight of Southern Arizona, which flies World War II veterans to the memorial free of charge. “Or they’ll start telling you stories. They always tell the funny stories or the anecdotes. That’s what got them through the hell they experienced for those four or five years.”
Quihuis, an electrical engineer at Raytheon’s Tucson, Ariz. plant, embodies the spirit of Raytheon’s Week of Service, which celebrates employees’ volunteer work – particularly time spent helping military veterans. The company employs more than 10,000 veterans, and Raytheon employees spent nearly 5,000 hours volunteering in support of the armed services in the first three quarters of 2014.