Heartland Honor Flight

Hallie Fitzsimmons

The Heartland Honor Flight organization is a group of people who take World War 2 veterans, and recently to the decline in WW2 vets, Korean veterans, to Washington D.C. for the day. The Heartland Honor Flight takes Kansas City vets to D.C. but there are other Honor Flights organizations that takes veterans from around the country. Roughly 85 veteran go on the trip through a charter plane out of KCI. They tour many different monuments like the Lincoln Memorial, WW2 monument, Korean and Vietnam, FDR, Air force, and Marine monuments. There is a one to one ratio to veterans and guardians, which are people who care for the veterans during their trip. They have many other volunteers who are there to take pictures of the experience and handle wheelchair, lunch, and bus transportation. Recently there has been a news crew that goes on the flight to document the day so you can see it at home.

The veterans day starts early. The plane leaves KCI at 6:00 a.m. Each Vet is given 2 Krispy creme doughnuts to start their trip. Once they leave it is about a 4 hour plan ride to D.C. Once they leave the airport they go to the WW2 monument. They have a catered lunch from Arby’s and then they visit the Tomb of the Unknown Solider and see the changing of the guards.┬áBut the real magic is when they arrive back at KCI.

Before they were maybe 30 people to great the Vets when they came home. Ever since the government shutdown, which happened during one of the KC’s honor flight, it has escalated to multiple hundreds. The veterans don’t know what surprise is in store for them and they become overrun with emotions. It is a beautiful thing to experience. There are men who dress in American Revolution uniforms and play the drums and hold the American Flag to welcome the veterans back. Then there is a tunnel of welcomers that the veterans go through where everyone thanks the men and women for their service.

The whole event for the veterans is completely free from donations. To learn more about how to donate please visit http://www.heartlandhonorflight.org/