Honor flight to soar after hitting donation mark

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Posted: Saturday, March 22, 2014 12:00 am

A honor flight for Korean War veterans has enough money to take flight later this month.

The Midlands Community Foundation informed Patriotic Productions last week that the fundraising goal was met thanks to more than 500 donations from across Nebraska.

The flight will take 460 Korean War veterans from 200 communities — the single largest honor flight in history, according to Honor Flight Network — to visit Washington, D.C. on March 25.

Two veterans from Gretna will attend the honor flight, along with eight from Bellevue, three from Papillion, one from La Vista and one from Springfield.

Veterans will visit the Korean War, World War II, Iwo Jima and Air Force memorials, as well as Arlington National Cemetery to watch the changing of the guard. A group photo will be taken at the Lincoln Memorial with the Nebraska congressional delegation.

The tour will receive a police escort throughout the day. In addition to the memorials, the group will also briefly drive to the Capitol, Supreme Court and other places of interest.

Operation Airlift was organized by Patriotic Production volunteers Bill and Evonne Williams. It consists of three chartered aircraft with a traveling part of 581, which includes volunteers and medical personnel.

Three hundred wives and family members will spend the day visiting the Joslyn Art Museum and enjoying movies, massages and manicures followed by a pizza supper, culminating with a large public homecoming at Eppley Airfield that evening.

An earlier Korean War honor flight took 135 Nebraska combat veterans to Washington, D.C., last October. The Williams helped organize that trip, as well as the Heartland Honor Flights in 2008 and 2009 for 1,500 Nebraska World War II veterans.

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