19 February 2008

World War II Veterans Eager to Take Honor Flight to Washington, D.C.

Photo: (l-r) James Watkins, Emory Holbrook and Ed Travis.

An Air Tran flight tentatively scheduled for May 14th is awaiting the three World War II veterans pictured and other veterans from Fayette County. This first Honor Flight Fayette is full and applications are being taken for the next flight as this is only the first of many planned flights for these veterans we are losing at the rate of 1,200 to 1,500 per day. The only thing keeping our veterans from their Memorial, that took over 60 years to come to fruition is the lack of funds at present. However, the organizers of this project are confident that the citizens and businesses of Fayette County will want to help honor these men and women who made possible many of the freedoms we take for granted today.

Honor Flight Fayette, part of the national honor flight organization, is a non-profit 501(c)(3) which is staffed only by volunteers, and which was created solely to honor America's World War II veterans for all their sacrifices by flying them to Washington, D.C. for a one day trip to visit and reflect at their memorial with their comrades in arms from this and other areas.

This trip is free to the veterans and is funded only by donations. Their day will begin in Fayetteville with Honor Flight Fayette t-shirts and a big send-off at Fayetteville First United Methodist Church. Exciting events are planned and everyone is invited to come and participate in this memorable event. After a ride to the Atlanta Airport in local church and other buses, special attention and speed will be given to them through the security lines so they can board their flight with a minimum of inconvenience and time.

There will be a Doctor, EMT's, and a Nurse on this flight. Also aboard will be "Guardians" who will pay for their own ticket at a cost of $300, and will be responsible for 1-3 veterans. Each guardian to veteran ratio will depend on the need of the veteran, which is the primary focus of this trip. The goal is to make this trip as special as possible for these men and women.
Once they arrive in the Capitol, they will be seated in motor coaches and taken to the World War II Memorial. Once there they will be provided with a tent, drinks and lunch depending upon the time they are assigned to see the Memorial. Time permitting, a tour will be taken through Arlington Cemetery.

Upon arriving back in Fayetteville, they will receive gifts to memorialize their day because many of these veterans have said little, if at all, about their experiences during this war. They simply considered it was an honor and a duty to serve their country and expect no recognition for their sacrifices.

If you would like to donate to this very worthy cause, please go to honorflightfayette.org where you will find forms for veterans, guardians and volunteers. Also listed is information on donating to a cause where the only ones who will benefit "free of cost" for this trip are the veterans. However, we must ask ourselves, "AT WHAT COST DID THEY SECURE MY FREEDOM AND HOW CAN I REPAY THEM".
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