(WGEM) — The Great River Honor Flight announced the first 5 missions planned for 2019. The year’s first planned trip will be on Saturday, April 6th. This is the 52nd overall mission for local veterans since the program started in this area in 2010. This trip will include Tri-State veteran who served in Vietnam, Korea, and between those conflicts. This latest group will consist of 32 local veterans from Adams, Hancock, and McDonough counties in Illinois as well as Adair, Shelby, Lewis, Pike, Ralls, Marion, and Knox counties in Missouri and Lee County in Iowa. They will head to Washington DC along with 24 guardians, many of which are relatives of the veterans.
The first stop will be at the Vietnam Memorial. This stop will also include visits to the nearby Korea Way 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. Next will be a visit and lunch stop at the Air Force Memorial overlooking the Pentagon as well as a tour of major spots in DC. The trip will end with an emotional visit to Arlington National Cemetery including seeing the ceremonial changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier 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 back to Quincy. The expected arrival time will be around 10:30 p.m. at John Wood Community College.
The rest of the schedule for 2019 includes:
Saturday, May 11 – out of Hannibal LaGrange University
Saturday, June 15 – out of John Wood Community College, Quincy
Saturday, August 24 – out of Hannibal LaGrange University
Thursday, September 26 – out of John Wood Community College, Quincy
Great River Honor Flight was started on Veterans Day 2009 with its first flight scheduled on April 13, 2010. Back then all the veterans were from World War II. That is the way it continued for several years until it was decided to expand to those veterans who had served during the Korean War. Since then we have also expanded to include veterans during the Vietnam War as well as those who served between those conflicts. We continue to increase the total number of local veterans who have flown to Washington DC for free thanks to the financial support of so many individuals, groups and businesses in the area. The trip will depart from John Wood Community College around 2:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 6th. 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.
To date, Great River Honor Flight, the Tri-States’ hub of the Honor Flight program has flown 1,668 local Veterans to Washington D.C. since it was established in 2009. This trip will increase that total to 1,700.
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 www.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.