Midwest Honor Flight taking Siouxland veterans to D.C. to see the monuments of their service and sacrifice
SIOUX CENTER, Iowa (KTIV) - A very special mission is “taking off” carrying Siouxland veterans to Washington D.C. to see the monuments to their service and sacrifice.
It’s all part of the “Midwest Honor Flight,” a non-profit allowing veterans who served in World War II, the Korean and Vietnam Wars to fly on a chartered plan to D.C. for free.
The festivities kicked off on Sept. 9 with a banquet in Sioux Falls for the 84 veterans and guardians that will take the flight. The Midwest Honor Flight serves veterans in parts of South Dakota, Iowa, Nebraska and Minnesota.
The cost for one flight is about $175,000, and Honor Flight officials credit volunteers and those who donate for making the trip possible.
“We’re a nonprofit organization that takes World War II, Korea and Vietnam veterans from our local areas here out to Washington DC for a day of honor to see all their memorials that have been dedicated to their service and sacrifice as well as those that paid the ultimate sacrifice, and then bring them back home,” said Aaron Van Bleek, the CEO of Midwest Honor Flight.
The honors flight leaves on Sept. 10 at about 5 a.m. Veterans will get the chance to see the changing of the guard at Arlington National Cemetery.
“And so for them to see their memorials for them to be thanked by random strangers throughout the day and for them to get a welcome home. A true welcome home tomorrow evening. It’ll really hopefully bring that closure that honor and that respect that they are been longing for so many years,” said Van Bleek.
Honor flight officials stress that every veteran has a different story, from their service to their welcome home. But they’ll take any veterans from those conflicts, and the waiting list currently has over 700 veterans.
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