At least two Audrain County veterans, along with 108 others, will take off Monday for the 56th Central Missouri Honor Flight, the last of such expeditions in 2018.
The veterans will return from Washington, D.C., at 9:30 p.m. Nov. 5 at the Courtyard Marriott, 3301 Lemone Industrial Blvd., in Columbia. The public is requested to welcome the group back at that time.
“Honor Flight veterans deserve to be welcomed home and after an escort down (Interstate) 70 from Kingdom City,” said Shelley Becker, CMHF community relations coordinator. “Their faces light up when they arrive in Columbia to a large crowd waiting for them there.”
The journey pays tribute to the bravery exhibited by members of armed forces in securing the nation’s freedoms and protecting voting privileges, according to a press release.
Area veterans will depart at 1:45 a.m. Monday from Columbia for the one-day trip to visit several national war memorials, including the WWII Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial, the Battle of Iwo Jima Memorial and the Air Force Memorial. Veterans also will attend a changing-of-the-guard ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
CMHF first started flying veterans to Washington in 2009. The group has flown more than 4,000 veterans, according to the release. A medical team travels with each flight, as well as guardians who assist the veterans with wheelchairs, medical needs and companionship on the flight.
While this is the final flight for 2018, flights in 2019 will start again in the spring. To find a printable application for a flight, visit www.centralmissourihonorflight.com. Printed applications or donations to the organization can be mailed to 1400 Forum Boulevard, Suite 1C, Box 334, Columbia, MO.
Central Missouri Honor Flight allows veterans the opportunity to travel together, support one another, collectively remember and emotionally revisit their personal histories of service to our nation, according to the release.
Names of those taking the flight are not released by CMHF. The flights are a journey of healing, Becker said, and so those who take the flight may not want to discuss his or her military history prior to the journey.