The third mission of 2017 for the Great River Honor Flight program returned after a busy day in Washington D.C.
The group, consisted of 27 local veterans: two who served in WWII, two during the Korean conflict and 23 who served in Vietnam. This group of veterans come from Adams, McDonough and Pike counties in Illinois as well as Lewis, Shelby and Marion counties in Missouri.
The veterans headed to Washington DC along with 25 guardians, many of which are relatives of the veterans.
This is the 43rd mission overall since the program started back in 2010 and will continue to increase the total number of local veterans who have flown to Washington DC for free to 1,385.
The trip departed from Hannibal LaGrange University’s campus around 2 a.m. Saturday. The Saturday departure is the new norm this year for Great River Honor Flight and is due to changes in available flights to DC and the need to have at least eight hours of ground time there for the veterans to see and enjoy the many memorials they visit.
The 52 Veterans and guardians traveled by charter bus to St. Louis Lambert International Airport where they boarded a flight to Baltimore and then on to our nation’s capital.
The first stop was the Vietnam Memorial. This stop included visits to the nearby Korea Way and Lincoln Memorials.
Next on the itinerary was a stop at the World War II Memorial, which sits next to the Washington Monument and where a group picture was taken.
Later that day, stops included the Iwo Jima Memorial dedicated to the WWII battle and the Marines who fought there.
Next, a visit to Arlington National Cemetery and seeing the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The trip ended with a visit to the Air Force Memorial that overlooks the Pentagon and Washington DC where they enjoyed dinner prior to returning to Reagan National for their trip home.
The direct flight took them back to St. Louis where they boarded a bus for the trip to Hannibal. The arrived around 10:30 p.m. at HLGU’s Mabee Sports Complex.
Great River Honor Flight, the Tri-States’ hub of the Honor Flight program, has flown 1,358 local veterans to Washington D.C. to date since it was established in October of 2009.
The Great River Honor Flight offers one-day trips to Washington, D.C. for these local heroes at no cost to them. Great River Honor Flight, a Missouri Nonprofit Corporation established in October of 2009, was created solely to honor America’s veterans that live in our area for all they have sacrificed by providing, free of charge, transportation to Washington D.C. to visit the memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifices.
You can find updates and photos at WGEM.com/honorflight.