After the Veterans, their Guardians and guests have enjoyed a pre-flight dinner on Monday evening at the VFW Post #755 in Springfield, Illinois, and then hopefully had a good night’s sleep, they will show up before dawn on Tuesday, May 23rd, at the Springfield Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport for a very special day. Land of Lincoln Honor Flight (LLHF) will take to the air again to honor 81 senior Veterans, by flying them on a no expense, day long journey to Washington, DC. Aboard the charter 737 aircraft will be 3 Veterans from World War II, 31 from the Korean War era and 47 Vietnam War era, with the US Air Force, Army, Marines, Navy and Merchant Marine branches of the military represented. Once landed at Reagan National Airport in DC, they will be transported on three luxury tour buses (designated Red, White and Blue for the day) with the first three stops being the World War II, Korean and Vietnam War Memorials so they may view and reflect on their service. The itinerary will also include visiting or seeing the Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, National Air & Space Museum, Air Force & Marine Corps Memorials, the Pentagon and will conclude at Arlington National Cemetery. All on the trip will have the opportunity to view the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers and witness the Changing of the Guard. On this second LLHF flight of the 2017 flying season, accompanying the Veterans will be 75 guardian escorts and 4 Land of Lincoln Honor Flight board members.
Veterans on this flight come from the 49 Central and Southern Illinois cities of Alton, Arcola, Ashland, Assumption, Astoria, Atlanta, Bethalto, Bethany, Bloomington, Bunker Hill, Carlinville, Champaign, Chatham, Chrisman, Cisco, Clinton, Danville, Dawson, Decatur, Deland, Effingham, Findlay, Fisher, Franklin, Fults, Hindsboro, Jacksonville, Lincoln, Marion, Mattoon, Monticello, Mount Olive, New Berlin, Newton, Palmyra, Pawnee, Peotone, Petersburg, Raymond, Roodhouse, Saint Elmo, Shelbyville, Sherman, Silvis, Springfield, Taylorville, Tilton, Warrensburg and Waverly.
The Veterans will return back to Springfield around 9:30 PM, and family, friends and the general public are invited and encouraged to show their appreciation to these Veterans by welcoming them home at the airport. All should feel free to dress in red, white & blue colors, bring balloons or posters, and show your appreciation to these heroes with hand shakes and hugs. Come early, enjoy free parking and show you care about the sacrifice and service they gave to the country.
Veteran applications continue to be accepted, with flight priority given in the following order: World War II (person enlisted by 12/31/1946), then Korean War Era (01/01/1947 to 12/31/1957), followed by the Vietnam War Era (01/01/1958 to 05/07/1975). Any certified terminally ill Veteran should contact LLHF directly. Three more flights are planned for the year on June 20th, September 12th and October 17th.
Because every Veteran flies with a Guardian escort, a trained family member or independent volunteer, who pays their own way and who ensures the Veteran has a safe and comfort trip on their special day in Washington, DC, applications for Guardians are also currently being accepted.
Veteran or Guardian Applications may be obtained at www.LandofLincolnHonorFlight.org, by clicking on Applications, then click & print the application of choice. LLHF is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that receives no government funding or grants. It is only able to honor the Veteran with a trip to DC due to the generous donations, sponsorships, fundraising events, merchandise sales and supporting efforts of the many local businesses, individuals and organizations within their service area. Please visit the web site to make a donation, consider holding a fundraiser, book a board member speaker, check the calendar or to obtain more information on the Honor Flight mission. Also consider following LLHF on their Facebook page to stay current on upcoming events and flights throughout the year.