Honor Flights Bring Veterans to the Nation's Capital

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On a recent sleepy morning at National Airport, sprinkled among the usual PA announcements, travelers heard an unusual invitation: An “Honor Flight” would land soon, carrying dozens of elderly veterans to visit and reflect at the memorials that had been built in their honor. “Come to Gate 40 to welcome our veterans to Washington!”

Luckily I had a few minutes to spare before my flight, so I joined many other travelers to greet the arriving plane from Indianapolis. While the West Point Alumni Glee Club sang The Marines’ Hymn (The Halls of Montezuma) and other patriotic tunes, the crowd applauded, thanked the vets for their service, and wished them a fine day in DC.

Because many veterans lack the resources to make the journey on their own, the nonprofit Honor Flight Network flies thousands of veterans to DC for free each year. Priority goes to World War II vets and veterans with terminal illnesses. Apply for a Veteran Honor Flight here.

You can also welcome Honor Flight veterans at DCA, the World War II Memorial, and Arlington National Cemetery. Schedules here and here.

All images © angela n.

More about Honor Flights.

If you know a veteran, elderly or otherwise, consider interviewing them for the Library of Congress Veterans History Project.