(TOLEDO, Ohio) – Honor Flight of Northwest Ohio completed its second mission on Wednesday, June 25th when 29 World War II veterans had the opportunity to travel to our nation’s capital for
a one day, all-expense paid trip to visit the World War II Memorial. The day’s schedule also included a visit to the Korean War Veterans Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, and Arlington National Cemetery.
Some of these veterans had been on the Honor Flight waiting list for months, but in reality, had waited over 60 years to see how the United States would depict their heroic efforts during World War II. (Honor Flight Northwest Ohio’s inaugural flight was held on Wednesday, April 30th.)
Honor Flight of Northwest Ohio is a non-profit organization, with an all-volunteer staff, dedicated to honoring veterans by providing a free one-day trip to the nation’s capital to see their memorials. Guardians, who pay their own expenses, accompany the veterans to assists with wheelchairs, oxygen and other special needs. Since its inception in 2005, Honor Flight Network has provided trips to over 6,000 veterans from across the country to view memorials on the National Mall.
Right now, the focus is on World War II veterans, many of whom do not have the financial means
or the physical strength to tackle the trip on their own. This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity pays tribute to those from “The Greatest Generation” for the sacrifices they have made on our behalf. Often, an Honor Flight represents a veteran’s first experience on an aircraft; for others, their first
trip to Washington, D.C.
But Honor Flight is in a desperate race against the clock. Thousands of World War II veterans are on the program’s waiting list, which takes individuals on a first-come, first-served basis. Those veterans are dying at an alarmingly high rate, so the Northwest Ohio chapter plans to schedule additional flights throughout the year.
Travel expenses for Honor Flight are funded through the generosity of individuals, social clubs, veterans groups and area businesses. “The members of the Greatest Generation have given so much and yet asked for so little,” explained Dee Pakulski, the director of Honor Flight Northwest Ohio. “Giving them the opportunity to see their memorial is one way for all of us to say ‘thanks’.” Without Honor Flight, many WWII Veterans will never visit the memorial dedicated in their honor.