The Great River Honor Flight’s fifth mission for 2019 left early this morning from the campus of John Wood Community College.  This is the 56th overall mission for local veterans since the program started in this area in 2010.  This trip includes Tri-State veterans who served in WWII and Vietnam.  According to a GRHF news release, this latest group will consist of 31 local veterans from Adams, Pike, Brown and Schuyler Counties in Illinois as well as Marion, Ralls, Clark, Lewis, Monroe, Audrain and Pike Counties in Missouri and Lee county in Iowa.  The 31 Veterans and 25 Guardians (many of who are relatives of the veterans) traveled by charter bus to St. Louis Lambert International Airport where they then headed to Baltimore and then on to our nation’s capital later today.

The stops during the trip include the Vietnam Memorial including visits to the nearby Korea Way and Lincoln Memorials, the World War II Memorial, the Washington Monument, a lunch stop at the Air Force Memorial overlooking the Pentagon as well as a tour of major spots in DC.  The trip will end with an emotional visit to Arlington National Cemetery including seeing the ceremonial changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

The return flight will take them back to St. Louis where they will board a bus for the trip back to Quincy. The expected arrival time will be around 10:30 p.m. at John Wood’s Activities Center.  If you have never attended the return of the Great River Honor Flight, you are missing an incredible event.  Their bus returns with a hero’s escort by hundreds of motorcycles and first responders.

Once at JWCC, they depart the bus and head into the JWCC Activities Center for a ceremony honoring each one of the attendees. It is a must see event if you do not know any of the honorees.

To date Great River Honor Flight, the Tri-States’ hub of the Honor Flight program has flown 1,791 local Veterans to Washington D.C. since it was established in 2009. This trip will increase that total to 1,823.

The Great River Honor Flight offers one-day trips to Washington, D.C. for these local heroes at no cost to them.  Great River Honor Flight, a Missouri Nonprofit Corporation established in October of 2009, was created solely to honor America’s veterans that live in our area for all they have sacrificed by providing, free of charge, transportation to Washington D.C. to visit the memorials dedicated to honor their service and sacrifices.

If you want to keep up with updates and pictures from their trip, go to www.wgem.com/honorflight where pictures and comments from the trip will be posted throughout the day.  For additional information, contact Carlos Fernandez at 217-228-6600.

The next scheduled Honor Flight will originate from Hannibal LaGrange University on Thursday, October 17.