With summer break completed, Land of Lincoln Honor Flight will take their 46th flight on Tuesday, September 12th, from Springfield’s Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport to Washington DC. On board for their first and only Honor Flight will be three World War II, 40 Korean War and 37 Vietnam War era Veterans, along with their escort Guardians. With 18 Air Force, 36 Army, 7 Marines and 19 Navy, including one SeaBee, the 80 Veterans, along with their family, will first have an opportunity to attend a pre-flight dinner the night before held at Springfield’s VFW Post #755. After what is usually a short night of sleep, all will gather at the airport to check in for their flight.
The senior Veterans on this flight come from the 52 Central and Southern Illinois cities and communities of Albion, Alton, Arrowsmith, Ashland, Assumption, Athens, Beecher City, Brighton, Carlinville, Champaign, Charleston, Chatham, Cowden, Decatur, East Alton, East Moline, Easton, Effingham, Farmersville, Forrest, Granite City, Hammond, Havana, Herrick, Jacksonville, Lawndale, Lincoln, Manito, Mansfield, Mattoon, Metamora, Milford, Montrose, Murrayville, New Douglas, New Holland, Newton, Pekin, Quincy, Riverton, Robinson, Rushville, San Jose, Springfield, Stewardson, Stonington, Villa Grove, Virden, Virginia, Waggoner, West Frankfort and Winchester.
Rising into the sky shortly before sunrise aboard a chartered 737 jetliner, the Veterans and their escorts will be looking forward to their landing at Reagan National Airport. From there these heroes will be transported by three luxury tour buses to view and reflect at the national memorials built in their honor – the World War II, Korean and Vietnam War Memorials. The itinerary will also include visiting or viewing the Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, National Air & Space Museum, Air Force & Marine Corps Memorials, the Pentagon, and other DC area sights. The day long, no cost trip to Veterans will conclude at Arlington National Cemetery to witness the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers prior to returning to Reagan National.
Projected for a 9:30 PM arrival, the Veterans will return to the Springfield airport, where family, friends and the general public are invited and encouraged to show their appreciation by coming out to share a hand shake, a hug and a “thank you” to these heroes. Red, white & blue clothing, bringing balloons or posters, small flags, etc. are encouraged. Come early, enjoy free parking and show you care about the sacrifice and service they gave to our 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. One additional flight, already filled, is planned for October.
Because every Veteran flies with a Guardian escort, a trained family member or independent volunteer, who pays their own way and 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, then click 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, fund-raising 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.