More than 115 veterans will celebrate Armed Forces Day, Saturday, May 21, on a Rotary District 7680 Flight of Honor to visit the World War II Memorial and other sites of interest to veterans in Washington, D.C.
World War II veterans interested in going on the US Airways charter flight should submit their applications immediately because the Flight of Honor can accommodate only 120. Already the Flight of Honor Committee has booked veterans from 13 North Carolina counties and 23 cities and towns.
The flight and lunch in Washington, DC, will not cost the veterans anything. The flight will leave Charlotte Douglas International Airport at 8 a.m. and return that evening at 8:23 p.m.
Veterans can find the application on www.flightofhonor.org.
Veterans will be booked for the flight in the order in which they are received, according to Susan Nota, veterans coordinator for the Flight of Honor. She said, any applications received for veterans who don’t make this flight will be first in line for the September 17 Flight of Honor (FOH).
This will be the sixth Flight of Honor sponsored by Rotary District 7680 and almost 600 World War II veterans have made the flight.
Kelly Morris, chair of the FOH Committee, said, “These flights are a small way we Rotarians can say thank you to the World War II veterans for saving the world from German Nazism, Italian fascism and Japanese militarism. It is not nearly as much as we owe these men and women. They truly are the greatest generation.
“We only have a small window of opportunity to show our appreciation through these flights. Twenty five of those booked for this flight are 90 years old or older. We will have 50 wheelchairs available for those who need them. We also will have a physician, Hadijatou (JaJa) Jarra, MD, and four Emergency Medical Technicians on the flight. There also will be one guardian who is a physician and one of the veterans who is a physician.”
There will be more than 40 guardians on the flight to assist veterans in wheelchairs and other veterans with anything they need help doing. Each guardian will be assigned three veterans. The guardians will check them in at the airport, and assist them in getting through security checkpoints.
Each flight costs more than $60,000 for the chartered plane, buses for transportation in Washington, lunch, wheelchair rentals and other expenses.
Sponsoring one veteran costs $500 and contributions are deductible under the federal tax code. Checks may be mailed to Rotary Flight of Honor, Post Office Box 495, Gastonia, NC 28053. Additional information is on the web site:www.flightofhonor.org.
Morris said, “So far, most of the money has been contributed by Rotary Clubs and individual Rotarians. We need assistance from members of the public, foundations, companies and other organizations to honor those who served in World War II.”