Honor Flight for Veterans – Free Trip to War Memorials in 2019

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Contributing Writer
Robert Houston

Area veterans, especially older veterans and particularly those who served in World War II and Korea, will have another chance to visit the many war memorials in Washington, D.C. early next year — for free.

The event is called the Honor Flight. It’s sponsored by Honor Flight Network, a non-profit organization “created solely to honor America’s veterans for all their sacrifices,” according to the organization’s website.

The Department of Veterans Affairs estimates that 640 World War II veterans die each day. 

“Our time to express our thanks to these brave men and women is running out,” states the website.

Area veterans interested in taking the Honor Flight to Washington, D.C., have commented in past years that they learn about the date of the flight only after it has passed. This year, said Barb Cessna, Project Coordinator for Vets Finding Vets, it’s going to be different. Information on the flight is available now, as are applications to take part in the event.

The next Honor Flight will leave Buffalo airport on May 4, 2019.

However, Cessna said, “Our local vets will leave the day before, a Friday, stay overnight in a motel near the Baltimore airport, where we land. Then we will leave very early the next morning for Washington. After we return to Buffalo, late, we’ll stay there overnight and return to Jamestown Sunday.”

Applications for the Flight can be obtained from Cessna at her office in the Fenton History Center by visiting in person or by calling 664-6256. Applications are also available online at www.buffaloniagarahonorflight.org.

“Even if you’ve seen Washington before, you haven’t really seen it until you go there with a veteran,” Cessna said. “And we’ve found that veterans particularly enjoy viewing the many memorials with other veterans.”

Veterans taking the flight, she said, “should have a caregiver or buddy go along with them.”

Once in Washington, the vets will be treated to a full day of sightseeing. Everything is paid for by Honor Flight, including meals and the first night’s motel stay, Cessna said. But that only includes the veteran. The traveling companion has to pay for the flight and the motel.

Last year, five vets took the Flight from Chautauqua County. The largest number to enjoy the event, Cessna said, was eight. 

The local Veterans Service Agency provides a van for the trip from Jamestown to Buffalo.

Also, Cessna said, there will be some surprises along the way. 

“I won’t tell what they will be, otherwise they won’t be surprises.”

For further information, contact Honor Flight at (937) 521-2400 or via email at applications@honorflight.org.