10th year of Great River Honor Flight marks 1,700 Tri-State veterans

QUINCY (WGEM) —  The Great River Honor Flight’s second mission for 2019 will be on May 11 and will depart from the Hannibal LaGrange University Campus.

This is the 53rd overall mission for local veterans since the program started in this area in 2010. This trip will include Tri-State veterans who served in WWII, Vietnam, and the years between Korea and Vietnam conflicts.

This latest group will consist of 29 local veterans from Adams, Hancock, Pike, Madison, Brown, and McDonough counties in Illinois as well as Marion, Pike, Ralls, Boone, St. Charles and Shelby counties in Missouri and Lee County in Iowa.

The trip will depart from Hannibal LaGrange University around 3 a.m. on Saturday, May 11th.  The 29 Veterans and 27 Guardians (many of which are relatives of the veterans) 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 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 a 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 Hannibal.  The expected arrival time will be around 10 p.m. at the Mabee Sports Center at HLGU.

The rest of the schedule for 2019 includes:

  • 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
  • Thursday, October 17 – out of Hannibal LaGrange University

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.

To date, Great River Honor Flight, the Tri-States’ hub of the Honor Flight program has flown 1,699 local Veterans to Washington D.C. since it was established in 2009. This trip will increase that total to 1,728.

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.

For a complete list of veterans who will be going on the May 11 Honor Flight, click here.

WGEM Staff

WGEM Staff

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