Just a few days before Halloween, Tuesday October 25th, 80 Veterans from central and southern Illinois will be treated to their Honor Flight to Washington, DC, to visit and reflect at their national memorials. This is not a trick as Land of Lincoln Honor Flight (LLHF) of Springfield will fly these 5 World War II, 31 Korean War and 44 Vietnam War era Vets at no cost to them on their day long trip, each accompanied by a volunteer Guardian escort. This will be LLHF’s sixth and final trip of the year, although flights for the 2107 flight season are being planned. These flights are made possible for the Veterans due to the generous donations, sponsorships, fund raising and efforts of numerous individuals, businesses, organizations and volunteers. (No federal, state or other government funding or grants are received) For LLHF this will be their 42nd trip – having flown a total of 3,218 Veterans upon this flight’s completion – but it is the one and only special Honor Flight for the Veterans onboard this day.
The 12 US Air Force, 45 Army, 10 Marines and 12 Navy heroes, plus 1 Navy heroine, come from the 51 Illinois cities and communities of Altamont, Alton, Alvin, Ashley, Belleville, Chatham, Clinton, Danville, Decatur, Delavan, Dow, Effingham, Elkhart, Emden, Fairbury, Fairview, Girard, Glenarm, Hillsboro, Hoopeston, Hudson, Jacksonville, Johnston City, Kincaid, Lincoln, Macomb, Mattoon, Middletown, Mt Zion, Murrayville, Nashville, Normal, Pawnee, Pinckneyville, Pittsfield, Radom, Riverton, Rochester, Shelbyville, Shipman, Springfield, Staunton, Taylorville, Tovey, Valier, Waverly, West Frankfort, West Salem, Westville, Winchester and Wood River, as well as a couple Veterans now residing in Covington, Indiana, and New Paris, Ohio.
Departing Springfield before sunrise, they will be met at Ronald Reagan National Airport by three luxury tour buses designated Red, White & Blue for the day. Their itinerary includes the important stops at the World War II, Korean and Vietnam National Memorials, as well as visiting the National Air & Space Museum (Chantilly Virginia), Air Force and Marine Corps Memorials, and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery, where they will witness the Changing of the Guard ceremony. During the day they will also have an opportunity to see the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorial, the Washington Monument, the Pentagon, and much more in the Washington DC area.
With this being the last flight of 2016, the general public, along with friends and family, are encouraged to “pack” the Abraham Lincoln Capital Airport to “Welcome Home” the flight scheduled to return around 9:30 PM (suggested to be there early). Patriotic spirit is encouraged with red-white-blue clothing, balloons and posters, small US flags, handshakes, hugs, kisses, etc. Show your appreciation and support to these Veterans who served and sacrificed so much for our country!
Although Land of Lincoln Honor Flight trips will be completed for the year, Veteran applications continue to be accepted, with 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.