88 Veterans Visit D.C. During Monday's Honor Flight

By: WSAW Staff Email
By: WSAW Staff Email
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Veterans sacrifice their time, and many times, their lives for our country. They're being honored for that Monday in Washington, D.C. as part of the Never Forgotten Honor Flight.

"It brings back a lot of memories," Jerry Evans, a Korean War Veteran said, "standing in line, waiting."

For a fellow Korean War veteran, Al Johnson, this trip is all about someone else.

"I'm looking forward to honoring my younger brother more than anything else," Al Johnson said, "that's number one. He deserves it."

Al's brother, Jack, was killed during the Korean war. Since Al was in the Navy, and Jack was in the army, he was not able to escort his brother's body back to the United States.

"Army people escort Army people and Navy people didn't have that option," Al said, "so I kept trying different ways. My commander say 'I know an admiral, I'll call him up and see if we can do something.'"

"The general said, 'just transfer him to the Army for 45 days," Al said, "he can go down and pick up his brother's body when it arrives and take him back to Wisconsin.' So we buried Jack in Stoughton, Wisconsin."

So Al is taking this Honor Flight to honor his fallen family member.

"They are going to do a ceremony with an empty wheel chair," Al said, "so we're looking forward to a good day."

If you'd be interested in taking an honor flight click here.

The Never Forgotten Honor Flight organization based in Wausau and the many organizations, businesses and individuals who fund it will fly eight World War II Veterans, 79 Korean War Veterans and one Vietnam War veteran to Washington, D.C. to see the memorials that honor their service on Monday.

Sixty-five guardians will accompany the vets on the trip to assist them on their whirlwind one-day round trip that departs Central Wisconsin Airport at 7:00 a.m. and is scheduled to return at approximately 10:00 p.m.

The public is invited to the Central Wisconsin Airport in Mosinee to welcome them home Monday night. Honor Flight officials recommend arriving by 8:30 p.m.

Free parking for those welcoming the veterans home will be provided.

After Monday’s trip, the Never Forgotten Honor Flight will have taken 1,485 veterans to Washington, D.C. since the first flight in 2010. Two more trips are planned this fall on September 8 and October 6. Any veterans from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War are encouraged to submit an application as soon as possible.

Veterans receive a free round-trip flight, and guardians pay $500 for the opportunity to accompany one or two veterans on the trip. Veterans and guardians interested in taking a future Honor Flight must complete an application at: www.neverforgottenhonorflight.org or contact the organization at 715.573.8519.

The veterans are selected based upon the order in which their applications are received and the conflict they served in. Preference is given to World War II veterans, then Korean Veterans and then Vietnam veterans. Veterans who are terminally ill, regardless of when they served, are also given preference.

Guardians should be 18-69 years old and able to lend physical assistance to the veterans. Completed applications for veterans and guardians also can be mailed to Never Forgotten Honor Flight, P.O. Box 5056 Wausau, WI 54402-5056.

North Central Wisconsin’s Never Forgotten Honor Flight is the nation’s 77th regional hub and one of six Wisconsin Honor Flight hubs. The Wausau-based organization was certified by the National Honor Flight Network office in Springfield, Ohio on November 11, 2009.

The Never Forgotten Honor Flight Hub based in Wausau serves veterans in these 12 counties: Marathon, Portage, Wood, Taylor, Langlade, Lincoln, Oneida, Vilas, Iron, Barron, Price and Rusk.

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