A local program dedicated to transporting local veterans to Washington D.C. is taking to the skies once again.
The Honor Flight will leave from the Appleton International Airport Wednesday morning.
It will be the 40th Honor Flight coming out of the valley, and they’re calling it a ‘Generations Honor Flight,’ because 40 Desert Storm veterans will be aboard the flight in honor of the 40th flight through the local honor flight program.
Other veterans taking part in the Honor Flight are from World War II, as well as the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.
The flight is scheduled to take off around 6:30 Wednesday morning, and has about 100 passengers on board.
Organizers say the day is filled with stops at memorials built in honor of these veterans, and it’s a trip that can be very emotional for many.
The trip is completely free of charge for the veterans, as a way to say “thank you” for their service and sacrifices to this country.
There will be a big welcome home ceremony for the veterans Wednesday night.
Organizers suggest arriving at the airport between 7:00 and 7:30 for that ceremony.
A program dedicated to flying northeast Wisconsin’s veterans to our nation’s capitol, free of charge, is taking on its 40th mission on Wednesday.
Organizers say they’re celebrating the milestone in a big way.
At the Appleton International Airport Wednesday morning,126 American heroes, spanning 75 years, are heading to Washington D.C. to see the memorials built in their honor.
“I was a machine-gunner. Three tours to Iraq,” says Desert Storm veteran, Shane Fitzsimmons.
“I joined the Navy in 1949. I got out of the Navy in 1957 and you just came home and took your uniform off and went to work. Nobody said welcome home,” says Korean War veteran, Bernie Faust.
It’s the first honor flight to represent four eras, and the first to include Desert Storm veterans.
“It’s just an honor to be able to bridge that generational gap between myself, generations of my era, to generations of veterans eras past,” says Fitzsimmons.
For some veterans the emotions are hard to contain…
“I get a little emotional, but I’ve waited 60 years for this day,” says Faust.
Other veterans consider it a chance to help the older generation of heroes.
It’s a journey that, like these veterans, will never be forgotten.
“Never give up hope because your dream is right around the corner,” says Faust.
You can help honor these veterans by being a part of Wednesday night’s homecoming.
Organizers say it’s best to arrive between 7-7:30 P.M. at the Appleton International Airport.