An honor flight offering local veterans the opportunity to visit war memorials in the nation’s capital is set for May 1.
The initiative organized by the Honor Flight of Middle Tennessee will provide 50 veterans and their companions with the chance to go Washington, D.C. to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedom of the country.
“Fifty people are going to Washington, D.C. – 27 veterans,” said Claude Morse, president and chairman of the Honor Flight of Middle Tennessee board.
Fifteen of the veterans will be in wheelchairs, with guardians assisting them.
“We have a doctor and two nurses that go with us on every flight,” Morse said. “We also have a photographer that goes with us.”
The group will fly out of Nashville to Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C.
The veterans will visit the World War II, Korean, Vietnam, Marine Corps and Air Force memorials.
Participants will also watch the changing of the guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Arlington National Cemetery, said Morse.
“Then, we go for dinner at the Fort Myer Dining Hall,” Morse said.
Fort Myer is adjacent to the Arlington National Cemetery. The base is the headquarters to military personnel working throughout the region of the nation’s capital. Many of the senior staff members of the base will join the veterans for dinner, said Morse.
An honor flight event costs about $23,000 and wouldn’t be possible without the help of the community, said Morse.
He thanked the local community for supporting the initiative.
“A lot of local organizations, churches and school groups support the honor flights,” he said.
On Wednesday, the Vietnam Veterans Motorcycle Group presented a check for $1,000 and the Coffee County Marine Corps League donated $400 to the organization, said Larry Williams, coordinator for the Honor Flight of Middle Tennessee.
Williams was one of the founding members of the organization, which was launched more than 10 years ago.
“We made our first flight in October 2008 with 50 veterans and a few guardians,” Williams said. “To date, we have made 21 flights to Washington, D.C. with each flight transporting 54 veterans and guardians. The flight on May 1 will be our 22nd flight. We fly twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall.”
The flights are free for the veterans, with guardians paying $450.
The honor flight bus pickup locations are Tullahoma, Manchester, Winchester and Murfreesboro.
Veterans who qualify to fly are as follows: terminally ill veterans from any campaign, World War II veterans, Korean War veterans, and Vietnam War veterans with a 70% or more VA Disability due to the Agent Orange in Vietnam, according to Williams.
For more information about applications for veterans, call Williams at 1-833-466-6787 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
For guardians’ applications, contact Lana Bradford at 931-434-5664.
For more information, visit www.honorflightmidtn.org.
Elena Cawley may be reached at email@example.com.