Honor Flight – Paying Tribute to the Last of America's World War II Veterans

16 million served in the nation’s armed forces during World War II. Many of them were still in their teens – little more than boys.

Once boy soldiers…now old men

Now, they are old men. And they are dying. it has been said that these men (and women, too) are disappearing at the rate of a thousand a day.

The memorial behind Honor Flight

That is the urgency behind the organization called Honor Flight. Honor Flight provides World War II veterans (and veterans of any wars who are terminally ill) with plane rides from all over the country to Washington, D.C., so they have a chance to see the monument dedicated to their sacrifice – and their spirit.

That monument – the World War II Memorial – opened in April of 2004. That was 59 years after WWII ended; too long a wait for many veterans, who didn’t live to see it. Honor Flight is trying to get the rest of them there before it’s too late.

Veterans pay nothing

Southwest, the official airline of Honor Flight, donates airline tickets to the program. Veterans pay nothing, they simply fill out an application at http://www.honorflight.org. Just so you know, Honor Flight does not receive government funding and donations are gratefully accepted.

Take a look at this moving video tribute to the passengers of one Honor Flight, below – the work of reporter Steve Sanders, producer Pam Grimes and photographer/editor Mike D’Angelo of WGN TV in Chicago.

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Published: May 26, 2010