The fourth mission of 2017 for the Great River Honor Flight program is set for departure Saturday and will include veterans from Korea and Vietnam.
The group consists of 33 local veterans – four who served during the Korean conflict and 29 who served in Vietnam. This group of veterans come from Adams, McDonough and Pike counties in Illinois as well as Marion, Pike, and Ralls counties in Missouri and Lee county in Iowa.
The veterans will head to Washington DC along with 23 guardians, many of which are relatives of the veterans.
This is the 44th 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 over the 1,400 mark to 1,418.
The trip will depart from John Wood Community College’s campus Saturday morning around 2 a.m. The Saturday departure, which has become more frequent in 2017, 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 will visit.
The 56 Veterans and their guardians will travel by charter bus to St. Louis Lambert International Airport where they will board a flight to Baltimore and then on to our nation’s capital.
The first stop will be at the Vietnam Memorial. This stop will also include visits to the nearby Korean War and Lincoln Memorials.
Next on their itinerary is a stop at the World War II Memorial, which sits next to the Washington Monument and where a group picture will be taken.
Other stops later that day include the Iwo Jima Memorial dedicated to that WWII battle and the Marines who fought there plus an emotional visit to Arlington National Cemetery. The veterans will see the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
The trip will end with a visit to the Air Force Memorial that overlooks the Pentagon and Washington DC where they will also enjoy dinner prior to returning to Reagan National for their trip home.
The direct flight will take them back to St. Louis where they will board a bus for the trip to Quincy. The expected arrival time will be around 10:45 p.m. at John Wood’s arena.
To date, Great River Honor Flight, the Tri-States’ hub of the Honor Flight program has flown 1,385 local Veterans to Washington D.C. 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.
If you want to keep up with updates and pictures from their trip, go to WGEM.com/HonorFlight where pictures and comments from the trip will be posted throughout the day.
For additional information, contact Carlos Fernandez at 217-228-6600.